Pop Sci's kooky vintage robot photo gallery


Popular Science has a fun gallery of kooky vintage robots from way back in the day that do random tasks. For example, this 1949 robot named Elektro can count to 10 and smoke cigarettes.

Archive Gallery: Vintage Robots [Popular Science]


  1. Westinghouse’s Elektro was somewhat alive and well a few years ago when I visited the Mansfield Memorial Museum in Mansfield, Ohio. You were able to buy antique stick pins of him from the 1939 World’s Fair (mine is hanging on my living room wall) and have your photo snapped with the robotic tin man. However, this posting sheds some doubt that he is still there as it says the owner (a former Westinghouse exec’s brother)wants to put him on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.


  2. I believe Elektro actually was “birthed” for the 1939-40 NY World’s Fair, where he performed at the Westinghouse pavilion. He appears in the great industrial film THE MIDDLETON FAMILY AT THE NEW YORK WORLD’S FAIR (free download here: http://www.archive.org/details/middleton_family_worlds_fair_1939, and his history is detailed in ROBOTS OF WESTINGHOUSE, a book by Scott Schaut, available here: http://www.amazon.com/Robots-Westinghouse-Today-Scott-Schaut/dp/0978584414.

  3. Did they program the Swiss Yodel-bot to milk the electronic cow?

    …and the real cowhide on it? It must have been for Uncanny Valley Farms.

  4. And Elektro was also in the movies! He played “Thinko” in the 1960 Mamie van Doren film SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE, where Mamie was a stripper with a genius IQ called in to head a university’s science department. Thinko was featured in a dream sequence in which he imagined a bevy of strippers performing for him and a chimp. Full story here:


  5. Have fun looking at this from Australia, the link redirects to the popsci.com.au server, which, oops, doesn’t have the story posted.

    Nice work PopSci.

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