Posts Tagged ‘1892’

1892 – Crane – Seward Babbitt (American)

CRANE by SEWARD S. BABBITT. See full patent details here.

Patent number: 484870
Filing date: Jun 13, 1892
Issue date: Oct 25, 1892

Seward Babbitt's crane first mentioned around 1980 in terms of robotics history and timelines in textbooks, but in terms of enabling technology only, rather than being identified as a robot in itself.  That distinction is getting lost in modern references to this invention.  Its included in my timeline only to highlight that it is not a robot.  It shares characteristics of manipulator arms only.

The first mentioned of Babbitt's invention in terms of robotics that I can find is from The Journal of Epsilon Pi Tau – Volumes 6-10 – Page 98
"In 1892, Seward Babbitt of Pittsburgh patented a rotary crane with a motorized gripper for removing hot ingots from furnaces. "

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1892 – Electric Bob’s Big Black Ostrich – Robert T. Toombs (American)

Electric Bob. Image courtesy Joe Rainone.

Electric Bob was introduced in "Electric Bob and His White Alligator; or, Hunting for Confederate Treasure in the Mississippi River" in the New York Five-Cent Library v1 n50 (July 22, 1893) by "Robert T. Toombs," an author about whom nothing is known. E.B. appeared in "Electric Bob's Big Black Ostrich; or, Lost on the Desert" (1893); "Electric Bob's Revenue Hawk; or, the Young Inventor among the Moonshiners" (1893); "Electric Bob's Big Bicycle; or, the Nerviest Boy in the World" (1893), and "Electric Bob's Sea-Cat; or, the Daring Invasion of Death Valley" (1893). Electric Bob was in the second rank of boy inventor characters; never as popular as Frank Reade Jr. or Jack Wright, he nonetheless had a certain cachet for readers in the early 1890s and was popular enough for his adventures to appear in magazines like the New York Five Cent Library and Brave and the Bold. Because of this, his stories are very hard to find, but not impossible, and are worth the effort, since Toombs wrote them with a certain wit, levity, and a whimsical, tongue-in-cheek tone that is absent from the other boy inventors' adventures. In one story, for example, it is implied that Bob spends the night with a Lady Of Negotiable Affection in Chicago. (We're not likely to see Frank Reade, Jr. doing that) It might reasonably be concluded that the entire Electric Bob series is a satire of the boy inventors subgenre.

Electric Bob is a 10-year-old who lives near (but not in) New York City. He's brilliant, of course, and capable of creating the most advanced technology possible, but unlike the other boy inventors he does not build his own equipment and weaponry; he draws up the blueprints in very detailed fashion and then sends them to the most efficient and skillful shops to construct for him. (He apparently patents them ahead of time, so he does not have to worry about his creations being stolen) Although, like Reade Jr. and Wright, he creates the usual electric weaponry and equipment, his specialty is vehicles in the form of animals. The exception is is Big Bicycle, which is electrically-operated with a canopy, storage space for food and equipment, steel-covered tires; its only weapon is that it can be electrified, but Bob also carries his "electric pistol," which shoots lethal bullets at extremely high speeds. Bob also wears a coat of bullet-proof armor under his clothing.  His other vehicles are the sea-going "White Alligator," the land-roving "Big Black Ostrich," the flying "Revenue Hawk," the submarine Sea-Cat (the only vehicle Bob names, unlike Reade Jr. and Wright), and the land-roving "Desert Camel." They fall into the same general Marvelous Invention pattern, being armored, durable, stocked with supplies, and capable of traversing rough terrain and enduring harsh weather and conditions. Bob, of course, has the usual diving suits with oxygen packs and one-man flying suits (flapping wings powered by electric batteries). Bob is a more upbeat and joyful character than the priggish Reade Jr., and his servant Dandy, despite being saddled with the usual racist epithets, is shown more respect than is usually the case with boy inventor dime novels. Similarly, non-whites are not, by and large, the victim of most of Electric Bob's weaponry; white men (West Virginia moonshiners, Mississippi swamp rats, Yankee swindlers) generally are. All in all, the Electric Bob novels are much superior to the other boy inventor novels.

[Text sourced from here.]


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1882 – King-Foo (King Fu) – Unknown (Chinese)

The Maitland Mercury 3 Jun 1882 p5
A strange prosecution for fraud has just been concluded at Vienna, the defendant being the proprietor of an automaton known as "King-Foo." The whole Court, from Kaiser Francis Joseph to the young princesses, has been delighted with King-Foo's marvellous performances, and the journals have been loud in their praise of the wonderful ingenuity and perfection of the mechanism. A morose sceptic refused to believe that there had been the least expenditure of mechanical genius in the construction of the automaton, and gave emphatic expression to his conviction that King-Foo had "human brains somewhere or other inside of him." The small size of the automaton was pointed out as a sufficient refutation of the sceptical prejudice ; but the objector replied that there was "plenty of room for a dwarf in the thing's interior." He took means to assure himself of the truth of his conjecture, and got into an unpleasant quarrel with King-Foo's proprietor. An exceedingly small youth, seventeen years of age, was then found to be concealed within the body of King-Foo, and the steel, brass, wheels, and springs were added for pure deception. The owner has been prosecuted as a cheat. His defence is most edifying. Assuming a tone and air of injured innocence, he plaintively asked, "Whom have I cheated? Can the people of Vienna be such fools as to believe that a piece of clockwork can talk Chinese, Persian, German, French, and English ? that it can tell whether Suez Canal shares will rise or fall ? that it can predict the exact day on which a rich uncle will will die ?" The accused has been acquitted.

The Automatic Man,
From the New York Tribune. 8 June, 1907
The death at Carlsbad of Theodor Rosenfeld reminds the Neue Freie Presse of the fact that he was the man who some years ago set all Vienna talking about King Fu, the "automatic man" This "most wonderful piece of mechanism ever produced by human hands," was in the form of a Chinese giant, posed on a pedestal. In the latter there was a complicated clockwork, which was wound up by Rosenfeld at the beginning of each performance. Then people in the audience would ask questions and the mechanical man would write the answers on strips of paper. The performances were so clever that King Fu and his master were invited to the imperial residence, where they mystified all who saw them. The contrivance was similar to the one shown in Vienna 100 years before by Wolfgang von Kempelen, only his was a chess playing Turk. In both cases a dwarf confederate, and not the clockwork, did the trick.

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1892 – “Hockbockid” Walking Mechanical Ostrich (Fictional) – Bradshaw (American)

William Richard Bradshaw (1851–1927) was an Irish-born American author, editor and lecturer who served as president of the New York Anti-Vivisection Society. He is known best for his science fiction-type novel The Goddess of Atvatabar: being the history of the discovery of the interior world, and conquest of Atvatabar (1892).

Extract from the book.

Chapter XIII.

Marching in Triumph.

There was a blase of excitement in the streets of Kioram when our procession appeared on the grand boulevard leading from the harbor to the fortress, some four miles in length. We presented a strange appearance not only to the people of the city, but to ourselves as well.

Prior to our appearance before the people we were obliged to adjust ourselves to the motion of an immence walking machine, the product of the inventive skill of Atvatabar.

Governor Ladalmir explained that the cavalry of Atvatabar were mounted on such locomotice machines, built on the plan of immense ostriches, called bockhockids. They were forty feet in height from toe to head, the saddle being thirty feet from the ground. The iron muscles of legs and body, moved by a powerful magnic(sic) motor inside the body of the monster, acted on bones of hollow steel. Each machine was operated by the dynamo in the body, which was adjusted to act or remain inert, as required, when riding the structure. A switch in front of the saddle set the bockhockid in motion or brought it to rest again. It was simply a gigantic velocipede without wheels.

"We'll ride the bastes,(sic)" said Flathootly, wth suppressed excitement.

"Do you think you can accommodate yourselves to ride such a machine?" said the governor. "You will find it, after aq little practice, an imposing method of travel."

Bradshaw's book had many illustrators. The Hochbockid as illustrated on page 69 was by Carl Guthers.

1892 – Mechanical Horse – L. A. Rygg (American)

Patent number: 491927
Filing date: Apr 8, 1892
Issue date: Feb 1893.  See full patent here.

Rygg Horse Pat 1893, filed 1892.  No model. Cannot find any evidence that it was actually built.

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