Monday, 7 October 2013

Elektro, the Chain Smoking Robot

Elektro the chain smoking robot was developed in the USA by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in the late 1930s at the height of the 'improved human' eugenics-inspired craze which was sweeping the USA and Nazi Germany at the time. A manifestation of the early Transhumanist cultural psychosis to make humans extinct in order to boost big corporation's profits, Elektro proudly stood seven feet tall and could prove he was 'smarter than humans' because he smoked Phillip Morris toxic cigarettes without getting tumours on his lungs. He was originally an exhibit at the New York World's Fair alongside Sparko, the robot robot dog that could bark, sit, and beg and presumably not piss on the sofa.

The nicotine-encrusted Elektro could also blow up balloons, move his body parts (kind of), and had a vocabulary of seven hundred words thanks to a record player inside his chest cavity quoting lines such as "I am Elektro" and "My brain is bigger than yours". His bodywork was aluminium with a fabricated steel skeleton. His eyes made with photoelectric cells could distinguish red and green.

After coughing his way through two World Fairs, Elektro toured North America in 1950 in promotional appearances for Westinghouse, eventually getting to Hollywood staring  as "Thinko", in Sex Kittens Go to College (1960).

In the 1960s, his head was decapitated and given to an engineer from Westinghouse who used it as an ashtray. Eventually Elektro's head was reunited with his body and is enjoying his retirement as a museum artifact.

1 comment:


    Weird, I found him in this video on accident also on an internet archive, it also has the same robot in it.