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World's first robot turns 75
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ELEKTRO is turning 75...at his home in Mansfield, Ohio.
His first appearance was in 1939.
It is told that ELEKTRO has some bad habits. He is a shameless flirt and is a smoker. He was built by the Mansfield based Westinghouse Electric Corp. and was created to transform American homes. He is a walking, talking, cigarette smoking robot that made his debut at the 1939 New York's World's Fair.
He is made of aluminum and it was anticipated by Westinghouse that he would help homemakers with their daily chores by taking over the laundry, cooking and cleaning.
ELEKTRO was actually his nick name as Moto-Man was his given name. He amazed audiences with his joke telling, counting on his fingers and identifying colors. He spoke in a monotone and told audiences that he was "a smart fellow" with a "very fine brain".He blew them away when he smoked cigarettes and blew up a balloon. He was a funny guy when he thought he could get a few laughs by calling his handler "Toots" and would talk about the "good members of the audience."
He spent his younger years, in the 1940's and 50's performing at appliance stores across the country. He also was located at an amusement park in California.
ELEKTRO became a star when Hollywood called for him to play a role in the 1960 movie "Sex Kittens Go to College."He was Thinko the robot and acted alongside Mamie Van Doren and Tuesday Weld.
After that appearance ELEKTRO disappeared. Scott Schaut Director of the Mansfield Memorial Museum teamed up the son of one of the creators of the robot with a mission to find and restore the smoking robot. Now ELEKTRO is found at the museum surrounded by Westinghouse memorabilia and mementos from his younger days. He was one in a series of robots built by the company prior to WWII. The company did not continue the production during the war and never restored the robot program after WWII.
The museum is known as the oldest in Richland County, founded in 1889. The roaming robot is just part of the unique collections the museum displays. When visiting Mansfield you will find many things to do. Visit the working farm where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married or spend the night in the haunted prison where movies were made such as Shawshank Redemption. You will find auto racing, skiing, and plenty of other outdoor activities.
The museum is located at 34 Park Ave. West in Mansfield, Oh, 419-525-2491, www.themansfieldmuseum.com.
Visit these blog posts for other things in Mansfield

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