This was the first robot in history and could say up to 700 words out loud and smoked cigarettes

This was the first robot in history and could say up to 700 words out loud and smoked cigarettes

One of the first authors to imagine a kind of robot, this time made of meat, was a woman: Mary Shelley . His Frankenstein’s Monster (1823) addressed the fear of a Faustian pact with Promethean echoes. Eighty years later, another woman conceived another mechanical robot but made of wax at a time when plastic or steel did not yet exist: Handcuffs Made to Order, by Alice W. Fuller (1895).

The first robot considered as such, and in the real world, would arrive a little later: in 1939. Its name was ELEKTRO .

ELEKTRO, the first android

ELEKTRO , this is the nickname of the first robot in history and it was conceived by Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Elektro was two meters tall, weighed 120 kg, could walk by voice command and say 700 words (thanks to a 78 rpm phonograph). In addition, he smoked cigarettes, inflated balloons, and moved his head and arms.

Joseph Barnett , an engineer at Westinghouse Electric Corporation, used state-of-the-art technology to create this first humanoid.


Its body consisted of a steel gear and cam skeleton, and its photoelectric "eyes" could distinguish red and green light. Your brain consists of 48 electrical relays that work like a telephone switchboard.

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Elektro was on display at the New York World’s Fair in 1939 and returned the following year with his companion Sparki , a robot dog that could bark and sit.

Elektro got to participate in films like: Sex Kittens Go to College of the year 1960, and appeared in the comic strip of the newspaper The Amazing Spider-Man . In 1992, the dance band Meat Beat Manifesto produced the song "Original Control (Version 2)" which included excerpts from Elektro’s monologues, quoting lines such as "I am Elektro" and "My brain is large than yours".

An Elektro robot was seen in the November 24, 2019 episode of Mr. Robot , housed in a storage room at the Queens Museum that was near the site of the Original 1939 and 1964 World’s Fair.

It is currently owned by the Mansfield Memorial Museum . In 2013, Elektro was exhibited at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.

Someday, perhaps, we will be surrounded by robots made of atoms, or perhaps bits (given our tendency to dematerialize the world). Be that as it may, we may disappear engulfed by a new way of life or a viral conception of exponential reproduction. That already gives for another science fiction story, like the one I tell you here: