ERIC ROBOT, London’s famous mechanical man, opened his heart to the public the other day to show just what was in him. As the photograph shows, Eric’s “in-sides” are so mechanically complicated that a physician called upon to operate on him for appendicitis would hardly know where to begin. The two bellows which may be seen in the picture represent Eric’s lungs, and the small furnace is his stomach. The pumping machine does duty as his heart, being connected up with various portions of his person by means of hollow tubing.

Mechanical Hired Man (Nov, 1955)

Mechanical Hired Man

Britisher’s relentless ploughboy quits only when the work is done.

FARMER E. A. Cory of Compton Abdale, Gloucestershire, England, has designed a completely automatic tractor control. His Fordson Diesel tractor has a steering arm connected by light cord to a square reel he can set up in the center of any ground he wants to work. Once started, the tractor works in a widening circle until the line is played out, returns as the line rewinds, stops when it reaches the control post. •

Siri ’29 (Sep, 1929)

Robots Answer All Questions

HOW England’s mechanical men work was recently explained. A youngster wishing to know the location of a restaurant sees one of the mechanical men on a street corner. Approaching him, he presses a button on his tummy. Almost instantly lights stare from under the steel man’s heavy eyebrows and a deep voice booms out, “What do you want to know?”

The youth startled, stutters, “Ppplease, where can I find a restaurant?”

“Three blocks and turn to your right,” the answer comes.

Bewildered, the boy follows directions and, sure enough, walks straight into a restaurant.

What has happened is this: When the youth pushed the button on the man’s stomach a light showed in front of a man in a control room some distance away. He immediately “plugged in” on the steel man from which the signal came. Conversation was possible by a microphone connection.

Mechanical Monsters that Live and Breathe (Mar, 1932)

Mechanical Monsters that Live and Breathe


When the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals steps in to prevent the mistreatment of a papier mache elephant, the modeler of that elephant can consider himself an artist with a capital A. This article tells you of the world’s most amazing studio, in which lifelike creatures, from spiders to prehistoric monsters which walk, eat, and breathe, are manufactured by skilled artists and mechanics.

MowBot (Jan, 1969)

ROBOT mower cuts grass within signal-wire perimeter around lawn. It automatically turns around when it hits wire. Quiet, virtually maintenance-free, battery-powered unit random cuts up to 7,000 sq. ft. on one charge; $795.

MowBot. Inc., North Tonawanda. N. Y. 14120

Robbie and Gronk Mobile Robots (Apr, 1978)

Robbie and Gronk Mobile Robots

By Keith Paul

What good is it, or what can it do? These were the most frequently asked questions while ‘Robbie’ the robot was on display at Bell Canada’s recent ‘open house’ held to celebrate the opening of their new 24-story Regional Headquarters building in Toronto. ‘Robbit,’ a tall conical shaped robot (Photo 1), and ‘Gronk,’ the shorter cylindrical machine (Photo 2), are the two robots which John Hughes and myself built over the past year.

Antique Mechanical Computers – Part 2: 18th and 19th Century Mechanical Marvels (Aug, 1978)

Be sure to check out Part 1.

Antique Mechanical Computers Part 2: 18th and 19th Century Mechanical Marvels

Dr James M Williams
58 Trumbull St
New Haven CT 06510

In “Part 1: Early Automata,” page 48, July 1978 BYTE, we traced the development of antique mechanical computers up to the middle of the 18th century, and described such devices as Vaucanson’s mechanical duck. Now we continue with a discussion of talking, writing and music playing automata of the 18th and 19th centuries. (The discussion is not meant to be an exhaustive one, of course, since that would be beyond the scope of this series.) Later Automata.

Antique Mechanical Computers – Part 1: Early Automata (Jul, 1978)

Antique Mechanical Computers – Part 1: Early Automata

Dr James M Williams
58 Trumbull St
New Haven CT 06510

My purpose in writing these articles is to remind computer enthusiasts that there is a high technology in every age, not just our own. Described herein are some of the stellar accomplishments of earlier times. The technology of electronics is merely the latest link in a continuous chain of technological developments spanning 20,000 years. Before that, there was a mechanical technology.

Part 1 of this three part series describes some highlights in the development of automata up to the 18th century. Part 2 continues with 18th and 19th century developments, and part 3 concludes with a description of Torres’ 1911 chess automaton.

Philadelphia’s 179 Year Old Android (Aug, 1978)

Philadelphia’s 179 Year Old Android

Charles F Penniman
The Franklin Institute
Philadelphia PA 19103

Cuckoo clocks, computers and dolls with rolling eyes somehow fascinate us all. The fascination seems to stem from our delight that people can make contraptions which do things by contrivance that are usually done by living men and beasts. But whatever the reason for it, we find animated statues in ancient China and in the temples of classical Greece. In Europe, the clockmakers of the Renaissance often adorned their works with marvelous moving figures. The famous tower clocks of Berne and Messina and the remarkable clock in the Cathedral at Strasbourg are just a few examples.


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