Robot Introduces Banquet Speakers and Makes it Snappy (Feb, 1933)

Robot Introduces Banquet Speakers and Makes it Snappy

RECOMMENDED for speakers tired of the general run of chairmen is a new robot speaker created by Prof. William Beard of the California Institute of Technology, at Pasadena.

Prof. Beard takes the robot with him to lectures, sets it beside him, and the phonograph within the robot speaks: “Friends and fellow robots, if any. Now I have got to be a chairman and introduce this distinguished gentleman on the right who has a message of importance to give you. Unlike most chairmen, I am not going to talk you to death, but will cut it short. Okay, professor, shoot.”

Prof. Beard’s robot is made from sheet iron, a coffee pot, toothbrushes for eyebrows, electric lights for eyes, and a self-starting phonograph for a voice.



As if endowed with powers of reasoning, a mechanical “rat” devised by Dr. Stevenson Smith, University of Washington psychologist, threads its way through an artificial maze like those used to study the behavior of living rats. The three-wheeled, electric-powered device moves along a grooved path that divides at several points, obliging the “rat” to choose which direction to follow. If it takes the wrong turn and enters a blind alley, mechanical feelers cause it to halt, retrace its journey, and try again until the whole course is negotiated successfully. The odd model is designed to show how automatic reflexes differ from thinking processes.

Reading Thoughts by Radio and Inventor Forecasts Private Radio Systems (May, 1924)

I wonder which idea readers in 1924 thought was more plausible; mind reading automatons or cell phones. Whatever the answer, one thing is clear: we need to come up with some way to use the word “radioplasm”. Google only returns two hits on this word and one of them is in another language.

Reading Thoughts by Radio

Can thoughts be read by radio? “Madam Radora” seems to prove that they can. Madam is not a human being, but a life-size automaton shown at the Permanent Radio Fair in New York. Her “thoughts” and movements are controlled entirely by wireless; no wires of any kind are attached to the table whereon she rests, and a liberal reward is promised the person who can prove that this is not true.

“Robot Man” Has Glass Body (Jun, 1939)

“Robot Man” Has Glass Body
PLACED on exhibition at the San Francisco Golden Gate Exposition, a newly developed “mechanical man” features a body made of plate glass, revealing an intricate maze of cogs, gears, wheels, levers, etc., to public gaze. Employing a microphone which it holds to its mouth, the robot answers numerous questions put to it by means of a dial device, as demonstrated by the young lady (above). Two years were required to build the intricate robot machine.

GIZMO (Dec, 1958)

Here is the June 1956 article and the November 1956 article (with the plans)

“GIZMO.” a mechanical man. can walk, answer “yes” and “no” and grasp and release objects. Built by Wade Barrineau III, Georgetown. S. C.

“I Can Whip Any Mechanical Robot” by Jack Dempsey (Apr, 1934)

“I Can Whip Any Mechanical Robot” by Jack Dempsey

Picturesque former champion of world tells mechanical side of boxing. Challenges any robot.

I CAN whip any mechanical robot that ever has or ever will be made. Maybe that sounds a bit egotistical, maybe you will say it’s just the voice of a “has-been,” but I assure you that neither is true.

I was talking over old times with my friend Captain W. H. Fawcett and during the course of conversation he remarked that undoubtedly mechanical ingenuity has done much to improve the work of many boxers.

“That’s true,” I answered, “but nothing mechanical will ever be able to whip an honest to goodness boxer. Even right now, despite the fact that I am definitely through with the ring as a fighter, I wouldn’t be afraid of any robot or mechanical man., I could tear it to pieces, bolt by bolt and scatter its brain wheels and cogs all over the canvas.”


Not too shabby considering Disney’s Hall of Presidents didn’t come out until 1971.


Five of our most famous presidents come to life in a unique historical exhibit designed by a New York inventor for display in stores and schools. Under the control of an operator offstage, figures representing Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Grover Cleveland rise in turn and deliver excerpts from some of their most famous speeches. Levers like those in a signal tower raise and seat the figures, and the voices are supplied by sixteen-inch phonograph records and reproduced by loudspeakers hidden behind the stage. Dummy microphones give the exhibit a modern touch, suggesting that these former chief executives might have assembled to take part in a present-day meeting.

Hidden Motors Give Life to Prehistoric Monsters (Jun, 1933)

Hidden Motors Give Life to Prehistoric Monsters

Saber-toothed tigers, giant ground sloths, and dinosaurs, inhabitants of the earth millions of years ago, have been reproduced mechanically by the New York firm of Mess-more and Damon for exhibition this summer at the Chicago World’s Fair. Within a huge hemisphere of metal, they will give visitors a glimpse of the world as it was long before man appeared. (P.S.M., June ’32, p. 16.) Controlled electrically, the mechanical monsters swing their heads, roll their eyes, breathe, snarl, roar, and grunt in realistic fashion. A complicated mass of cogs, wheels, bellows, and silent motors produces the life-like sounds and motions. Beneath the canvas and papier-mache hide of each animal there are from one to sixteen electric motors. An operator controls the actions of the exhibits. At the World’s Fair, they will be seen in an environment of prehistoric vegetation.

Robot Checker Player Is Undefeated (Jun, 1938)

Does anybody know how this worked? My guess is that there is a guy in a robot suit. I have serious doubts that in 1938 they could build a robot articulate enough to manipulate the pieces even if it was fully remote controlled.

Robot Checker Player Is Undefeated

OWNED by Frank Frain, of New York, N. Y., a mechanically created robot is said to have played in more than 25,000 checker matches without being defeated. Sponsored by a well know radio manufacturer, the “Magic Brain Checker Player,” as the robot is known, is making a tour of the country. Standing six feet tall and weighing 500 pounds, the robot disdainfully sweeps the checkerboard clear of checkers if its opponent attempts to cheat.

Robot Cow Moos and Gives Milk (May, 1933)

Robot Cow Moos and Gives Milk

Hidden Motors Give Exhibit for World’s Fair the Movements of a Living Animal

AN ELECTRIC cow that chews a cud, breathes, moves its head, winks its eyes, moos, and gives real milk will form one of the exhibits at the World’s Fair next summer.

This robot animal has just been completed at the New York City workshop of Messmore and Damon, specialists in creating mechanical beasts that range from prehistoric dinosaurs to modern puppies. It is an exact reproduction of a Holstein milk cow, the hide which covers the papier-mache body being that of the real animal. This particular Holstein was chosen as a model because it had a large black spot on one side. In the reproduction, this spot forms a door that can be removed if anything goes wrong with the mechanism inside.