Thursday, July 22, 2010

"The Mechanical Man--He's In Laredo!"

From the Laredo Times, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 1929, page 5:


Subhed: Laredo Unable To Solve Robot

The mechanical man or robot was released from a huge box in front of the Laredo Times office on Monday evening at 6 o'clock and soon thereafter made his first public appearance at the Bohemian Club in Nuevo Laredo. In both instances numerous curious folks were on hand to see what they could see and decide for themselves whether it was robot or man.

Those who got an eyeful of the figure Monday evening were puzzled. Every movement of the figure was that joint-jerking action of the mechanical robot. His walk, handshakes and nods had all the laborious grace of a doll made of toothpicks. But the figure was firm and rounded and the wax face is so perfect that it is almost human.

But "Robot" drives an automobile with the same ease and precision of a regular driver, which again puzzles the observer as each movement is carefully watched. During the week "Robot" will drive a Ford and a Chevrolet on alternate days and will appear at the Gateway Chevrolet Co., Laredo Auto Sales Co., Bohemian Club, Labella Jardinera, Stowers Furniture Co., Franklin Bros. Department Store, Lion Music and Jewelry Co., Southern Plumbing C. and the R. and R. Royal Theatre.

[I swear on my stack of first editions I didn't make this up]

[this is Laredo, Texas, of course. I leave it to you to imagine Laredo, Texas, in 1929, confronting a car-driving robot]

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