Posts Tagged ‘Promotional Robot’

1965 – “Mr. Obos” the Robot – Lou Nasti (American)


1965 – "Mr. Obos" the Robot by Lou Nasti (upper right).


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New York Times, March 20, 1965 – By PHILIP H. DOUGHERTY – Print Headline: "So What Else Is New? A Robot Makes Debut on Flatbush Ave."

So What Else Is New? A Robot Makes Debut on Flatbush Ave.

ROBOT IN RESIDENCE: Mr. Obos blinks his many lights at the electronic direction of his inventor, Louis Nasti, in the basement of the Nasti apartment house in Flatbush. Besides blinking, robot walks, talks and moves arms.

The other fellows around East 38th Street and Flatbush Avenue have had a pretty busy winter, what with shooting pool at Cannon's, going to dances and all that.
But where has Louis Nasti been? He's been in the basement of the Styling by Silhouette beauty parlor every free minute, and what he's been doing has really become a neighborhood topic. No wonder, for how many fellows are building 6-foot 5-inch, copper-colored robots around Flatbush Avenue these days?
Mr. Obos (he's the robot) was showing off the other night in the basement of 1866 Flatbush Avenue that he shares with a furnace. Nineteen-year-old, 5-foot 4-inch Louis was at the lecternlike, 23-switch control panel as Mr. Obos, in a deep, taped voice, ticked off his physical assets.
"I can do 11 different things." bragged Mr. Obos, antenna twirling as blue eyes and red nose blinked.
"He's great," interrupted Mrs. Marie Nasti, her plump 5-foot frame unable to hold all of her pride. It was not clear whether she was speaking of her son, the inventor, or the invention.
"There are 100 lights outlining my body and 475 feet of running wire from the back of my leg to my controls," continued Mr. Obos with some satisfaction.
Mr. Obos's chin flapped and torso spun in half circles on its marble-mounted waistline as nine little electric motors whirred silently.

"It comes apart in five pieces," young Louis said, leaping to open Mr. Obos's right ankle where a 21-foot power-bearing cable enters the body. The wires are connected to a cable, the cable is connected to a switch panel, the panel is connected to an outlet — oh hear the word of Con Ed.
"It looks sharp in the dark." said young Louis, a thin, well-dressed young man with wavy black hair, interrupting both his mother and Mr. Obos.
Louis explained that he built the robot for the employees' hobby show at Abraham & Straus, where he is in home furnishings display. "They really like me there." he said. Louis has also built a coffinlike box for Mr. Obos and plans to move him to the store today.
Upstairs in the Nastis' three-room apartment (father Attilion was still at work), Louis talked of some of the other thing's he has built, including a robot who did the twist.
"When I was at Midwood High School (he was graduated in 1963) I built a rocket and a radar interceptor—had two airplanes take off and actually collide in the classroom." he said.
Now that Mr. Obos, who got his name from Sobos glue, is finished and all the papier-mache in place and painted on its body of five-gallon oil cans, Louis feels let down. "I went down to the cellar and just sat and looked at him last night." he said.
But he has future plans. "I think," Louis said, "I'll build a family of robots-remote controlled with radio waves-that look like soldiers, not robots." There was a faraway look in his eyes.

Thanks to Lou Nasti and colleague Bob Kovacs in providing the New York Times article.


Lou Nasti, looking rather like Disney's Geppetto, set up his animated display's business in 1969 and is still going strong. See Animated Displays Inc.

He has a robot called Rodney.

Comment source: here. c2013.

Lou Nasti is famous for his animated window displays. His work is very amiable and seems like it appeals to the younger audience, however can be a fun experience for all ages. Enjoyment and entertainment is found everywhere in his displays. His “Santa’s workshop” can be found in Brooklyn commonly known as Lou Nasti’s Brooklyn company, Mechanical Displays Inc. He is well known for creating displays that have holiday themes and bring out the fantasy in every holiday, such as Santa Claus and his elves. These famous displays can mainly be found in department stores such as Macy’s.

His famous career started as a teenager when he started as a window dresser. His fame up roared when he created a talking and walking robot. His work is amazing and is viewed by many every year. However the main obstacle for Lou Nasti every year is putting up a Christmas tree in his own home. Despite this obstacle, he still creates the best displays filled with imagination. His displays circulate around the country, that’s how good he is.

Another important obstacle that not only Lou Nasti faces but department stores face is online shopping and how it has affected businesses in stores. It’s up to Lou Nasti to work night and day to change this and help boost up this line of work. His theme seems to be “bigger is better.” Lou Nasti continues to work hard, recently creating a huge children’s train ride through a sprawling peppermint forest for the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Ky. However, his foremost project is to create a life sized theme park named Nasti Land.

See other early Humanoid Robots here.

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1954 – “Sylvania Sam” Promotional Robot – (American)

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1954 – "Sylvania Sam" Promotional Robot.


The "Sylvania Sam" Promotional Robot was a 9-foot tall talking "electronic" robot that tells you all about pink "Softlight" bulbs.


See other early Humanoid Robots here.

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1979 – “NUTRO” the Robot – (American)


1979 – "NUTRO" the Robot by Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.




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The Index-Journal, Greenwood, S.C. Sat., April 21, 1979-p7
Robot raves about nutrition

Caption: Traveling companions – Nutritionist Dave Canty serves as voice and remote-control operator for Nutro, a 400-pound robot who tours the country speaking to children on nutrition.
NUTLEY, N.J — Traveling coast-to-coast to visit six cities in six weeks is not an easy trip for anyone, but it's especially complicated if you happen to be a 400-pound, remote-controlled robot.
There's the need for specially designed vehicles, the confusion of traveling in the baggage compartments of airplanes, the inconvenience of batteries that need daily charging, the danger of shorting electric body circuits in the rain, the problems of bolts that come loose over bumpy roads, arid the inability to climb steps.
SINCE HIS FIRST nationwide tour last fall in a rented high-roof van, Nutro, a robot whose name was suggested by a combination of the words nutrition and robot, has solved some of his traveling problems.
For his spring tour of eight cities, he will travel as a U.S. symbol for the International Year of the Child, as it relates to children's rights to adequate nutrition, in his personal, custom-made van.
It features a hydraulic lift to ease Nutro's exit to the street and a special outlet that runs off the van's alternator to provide on-the-road battery recharging.
NUTRO, A CREATION of the Vitamin Education Program of Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., as a public-service, nutrition-education program, is touring as a "guest lecturer" on the subject of nutrition. His message, delivered in schools across the country, is on the importance of proper nutrition and correct nutrition information.
The 5-foot-2, 31-inch-wide, conical-shape robot has a movable globe head, red light-bulb eyes and flexible accordion-like arms. His wood and metal frame is clothed in a combination of yellow spandex and red and blue glittery lurex fabric. It houses over 500 moving parts and 2,000 feet of wire.
Nutro's head moves from side to side and can soar 12 inches skyward when he explains how excited he is about nutrition His chest lights up to emphasize the essential nutrients printed on his chest wall. He can wave and shake hands.
Nutro may be the most heavily insured teacher's aide around. His voice alone is insured for $150,000 with Lloyds of London, and monthly premiums on protecting his body and his program total $600. The construction bill was $25,000, and an identical stand-in cost $20,000.
TRAVELING THE country is rarely easy for Nutro but is never lonely. He is always accompanied by Joe Wilkenson, his technician, and Dave Canty, a Ph.D-candidate nutritionist who serves as his voice and remote-control operator.
In his first tour, Nutro traveled completely assembled inside his original shipping crate. Every night when his companions checked into motels, he went along, sharing a room with his technician, and plugged into electric outlets to recharge his batteries. Meanwhile, his 9-volt voice box was being charged in another outlet and his 12-volt remote-control equipment in a third.
EXITING FROM his van on a makeshift ramp was a clumsy process during last year's 8,000-mile tour. Sometimes Nutro was wheeled down the ramp but at other times, particularly when a crowd of curious children had gathered, he moved down the ramp on his pneumatic tires under his own power, with Canty working the remote controls.
If there are special problems in traveling with a robot there are also special privileges. None of the motels where Nutro stayed charged him for his visits despite all the electric current he used for his batteries.
Although Nutro's favorite topic of conversation is nutrition, Canty admits that the robot has developed into a unique character with a personality of his own during his months on the road.
IN HIS MUNCHKIN-LIKE voice, he teases motel maids by telling them he is the replacement sent to take over their jobs.
And although most of his time is spent in schools and the children's wards of hospitals. Nutro has also found time to try out his John Wayne imitation at a Hollywood party. learn to wolf whistle, and do what he calls a "funky robot disco" at a chic Manhattan nightspot.

Taste of the Past: The nuts and bolts of nutrition. Source: Star Tribune.
Robot helped students understand nutrition.
By RICK NELSON Star Tribune
March 31, 2010 — 2:40pm
Students at Page Elementary School learn nutrition from a robot.
William Seaman, Star Tribune
Students at Page Elementary School learn nutrition from a robot.

Take a look at cutting-edge educational technology, circa 1979. His name was Nutro, and he rolled into Page Elementary School in Minneapolis as a part of a nationwide tour of sixth- and seventh-grade classrooms.

The goal of Nutro's work was to spice up the bone-dry topic of nutrition for tween audiences, which he accomplished with a lively mix of chatter and Q&A. Of course, the sci-fi metal and plastic get-up didn't hurt.

"Although he positively hypnotized the delighted and eager students, Nutro couldn't function without a real, live nutrition expert's help," wrote Beth Anderson, a Taste staff writer, in a May 2, 1979, story. "Dave Canty, a 27-year-old who has finished his doctoral course work in nutritional sciences, was folded up inside Nutro's cone-shaped body."

Turns out Canty — sorry, Nutro — wasn't part of a 1970s No Child Left Behind-style government initiative; his work was sponsored by a vitamin manufacturer. Anderson noted that Canty intended to use "Nutro's educational experiences in his doctoral work, by comparing Nutro's effectiveness with schoolchildren with the same techniques executed by the biochemical unit commonly known as a teacher."

See other early Humanoid Robots here.

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1964 – “Freddie Ford” Promotional Robot – (American)

HXP-022351-2/23/66-CHICAGO:One of features at Auto Show here is the robot at the Ford display. Appropriately named "Freddie Ford," mechanical man answers questions fed to it by curious visitors Robot was formed from Ford car parts & stands 12-feet tall. Model Mary Ann Laurel poses with"Freddie." UPI TELEPHOTO

The earliest version of Freddie Ford, a robot employed by Ford Division's Show Exhibit Department, that I can find is from 1965, although article above suggests 1964 was Freddie's first year.


Freddie Ford from 1965.


Video clip from 1965.

1970 – A robot, Freddie Ford,  on the Mustang stand, repeats endlessly: people love Mustangs, Mustangs love people, make a date with a Mustang, put romance in your life."

Freddie Ford returns for National Robotics Week by Ron Ford.

This promotional Ford Robot is Freddie's great-grand-automoton. We are coming to the end of Robotics Week [April 2012]. That’s right, a week dedicated to all things robot. To celebrate, Ford has dug up some old pictures and press releases about an old friend. Freddie Ford was a talking promotional robot used at events in the late 1960s.
Made almost entirely out of auto parts. Towering above the crowds at nine feet high and weighing in at 800 pounds, Freddie was built almost entirely out of auto parts. He had oil pans for feet and brake shoes for hands. His ears were made of radiator caps with car antennas attached. His eyes were parking lights from a Mustang, and the backup light from a Thunderbird was his mouth. His arms were mufflers and his legs were shock absorbers. His chest was 126 inches around and his waist was 120 inches.
A tin pitchman for Ford
Freddie once was used to help Ford sell cars at state fair exhibits and at auto shows in 1967. He was no C3PO, but he could answer a dozen questions in front of an audience. Somehow, most of his answers contained corny jokes and spoke glowingly of Ford products.
Canned corn
Here are a few of Freddie’s exchanges with fair goers in the late Vietnam era, as recorded in Ford’s press release:
Fair goer: “What does it mean to ‘Walk softly and carry a big stick’?’”
Freddie: “The quotation is really, ‘Drive softly and carry a big six’.”
Fair goer: “Why do you have disc brakes for hands?”
Freddie: “They grip faster and better and 55 percent easier than manual brakes. For 1970, power front disc brakes are available on all models and standard on some.”
Want to read one more? Sure you do.
Fair goer: “Are those oil pans really your feet?”
Freddie: “Yes, sir, these are 390 V-8 oil pans from the biggest V-8 that uses only regular gas. And remember …. oil changes are only needed every six months or 6,000 miles.”
Good to know, Freddie.

Next gen corn-talking bot
The Freddie from 1967 was a second generation of the robot. His namesake predecessor was used for three earlier years, promoting Ford products until he got an upgrade.


The abover version of Freddie (2nd Generation) appeared from 1967. Note the hands upgrade from Drum Brakes to  Disc.

Freddie at an auto show [Chicago?/Detroit?] 1974.

Freddie at an auto show [Chicago?/Detroit?] 1976.

Yet another technological upgrade for Freddie and his cloned brothers.

Freddie as he appeared on the cover of a child's book on robots.

A later version of Freddie Ford. He was for auction back in 2006. Image and info below from Robotnut in Alphadrome Toy Robot blog.

Freddie Ford isn't very old, but he can see, hear and answer questions.

He is also an awfully big fellow, standing eight feet six inches tall in his bare feet and tipping the scales at almost 500 pounds. His chest measures 126 inches and his waist 120 inches.

Freddie, a second-generation mechanical robot, is one of the highlights or the Ford Division exhibit at auto shows around the country.
Freddie is almost a replica of his popular predecessor who delighted spectators for three years.

Like the earlier model, the new Freddie Ford is made up largely of parts from Ford Division products. He even has a television camera in his nose so he can see whom he is "talking" to.

Car parts comprising Freddie include oil filter caps and radio antennas for ears; Mustang parking lights for eyes, and a Thunderbird backup light for a mouth. His upper arms are Ford muffler resonators and the lower portions are formed by Mustang shock absorbers and disc brake assemblies. Wheel caps serve for Shoulders and elbows.

Embedded in Freddie's chest are such items as a Mustang speedometer with an odometer that registers miles as he talks; a Ford stereo AM/FM radio; Mustang convenience panel lights, and a seat belt. Mustang gas caps are used for knees, and a pair of engine oil pans give Freddie the biggest feet in town.


wired -04/2012

Ford Rolls Out the OG Droid for Robotics Week
By Damon Lavrinc 12, 2012

Photos: Ford Motor Company

Imagine it’s 1967 and you’ve walked onto the floor of the Texas State Fair. Among the throngs of show-goers admiring the all-new Mercury Cougar, Chrysler New Yorker and AMC Ambassador stands Freddie Ford, towering over you like an jacked up version of B9 from Lost In Space. Except… are those oil pans for feet?

They are, and if you were to throw a pair of oversized kicks on Freddie, he’d need classic Cons sized 22D.

Coming in at 9-feet tall and tipping the scales at 800 pounds, Freddie was state-of-the-art for the time, made up of the bits and pieces found lying on the floor of Ford’s production lines. And he’s gen-2, the second version of Ford’s talking, animated robot, complete with brake pads for hands and a dozen toggle switches that allow Texas Fair attendees to ask Freddie a series of questions.

What kind of questions?

“What does it mean to ‘Walk softly and carry a big stick?’” Freddie responds, “The quotation is really, ‘Drive softly and carry a big six.” Budum-bum.

Ford’s re-release of Freddie from the archives coincides nicely with Robotics Week and the automaker’s announcement that it’s completed installation of some 700 robots at its Louisville Assembly Plant to build the new Ford Escape. But if we had to bring anything back from 1967, it would’ve been the “Cougar Corner” showing off Mercury’s newest muscle car. Too bad the brand’s been dead for over a year…

For the 1979 Detroit Auto Show, Freddie Ford, a 9-ft.-tall talking robot, attracted visitors and answered questions about the 40 Ford cars and trucks on display.

The 1981 version had Pinto parking lights as eyes.

Hank the Ford Robot – Freddie's modern day replacement. A Sarcos show robot with a remote operator in a SenSuit®.

Sarcos' humanoid robots are the most advanced and life-like anthropomorphic robotic figures in the world. Sarcos' involvement with humanoid robots began in the 1980's when Disney wanted to improve upon their Audio-Animatronic robots by making the motions more graceful and realistic.
SRC (Sarcos Robot Corporation) has supplied its humanoid robot to numerous other customers. For instance, to introduce their newly redesigned Taurus in 1995, the Ford Motor Company sought an innovative way to attract and educate customers using high technology. "Sarcos", as the robot was named, traveled North America and Europe for the major car shows from 1995 to 1997. "Sarcos" was operated by two methods: live, real-time teleoperator control, and the playback of pre-programmed skits. During interactive segments, a stand-up comedian in a Sarcos SenSuit® controlled the robot. The SenSuit® and the exhibit area were equipped with a series of cameras, monitors, microphones, and speakers that allowed the robot perceive and actively interact with Ford spokes-models and visitors to the Ford display. The SenSuit® was fitted with special helmet-mounted displays, headphones, and a microphone to provide the operator with a "robot view" and facilitate communication and interactive body movements.
 SRC humanoid robots can be programmed to recreate smooth, graceful, fast human actions so effectively that they are frequently mistaken for human actors.