a mechanical dog wasn't the extent of Elektro's family. He came
from an illustrious line of robots built by Westinghouse. Here
we see Elektro's grandfather, Mr. Televox (aka Mr. "Herbert" Televox);
one of the world's first robots and one of the very few built largely
out of cardboard.
Mr. Televox was built in
1927 by either R. J. Wesley, J. L. McCoy, Joseph Barnett, or P. G.
Garrett, depending on which newspaper account you read. He was
designed to show off an early remote control and telemetry device
called, by astonishing coincidence, the Televox. The idea behind
this device was that you could hook up various devices and meters to
the Televox using regular phone lines and by sending acoustic signals
back and forth you could switch machines on and off, regulate water
levels in reservoirs, and so forth.
Mr. Televox was simply a
standard Televox unit on a stand that was hidden behind a cardboard
cutout of a robot with light-up eyes (one red and one green).
He was controlled by an operator who "spoke" to the robot using a
pitch pipe. Mr. Televox, in turn, would then turn on various
appliances about the stage from a distance or reply to questions.
Early on, his answers were restricted to electric chirps and burps,
but the addition of 78 RPM records later allowed him to answer
questions such as what was his favourite book.
Not surprisingly, it
turned out to be "Is Sex Necessary."