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Author Topic: Victorian Automata: A Timeline of Robot History With Photos & Videos  (Read 19771 times)
RJBowman
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« on: January 21, 2013, 05:13:46 am »

I am working on a large project documenting various events, inventions, and literary works that inspire steampunk. The project is sizable, and of very broad scope, but I thought that I would offer a sampling for your consideration and comment.

This subset of the project is all things related to robots and automata. This includes inventions, legends, fictional works, and even hoaxes that I thought were relevant.

I did not have access to a large library while I was working on this project, so the information below comes from web sources, my own memory, and the occasional reference from (God forgive me) Wikipedia.

I have added some formatting tags that affects the appearance of the text on this forum. I have used the “spoiler” tag to hide blocks of text under each date and heading; there may be better ways to format this article for this forum, but I think the way that I have done it is good enough for now.

The forum is telling me that my entry is to long, so I will have to cut it up and put a portion of the entry into replies.

So here it is:

A Timeline of Victorian Automata

1400 BC – Water Clock
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1900 BC –
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
270 BC – Mechanical Figures
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
322 BC – Aristotle
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1206 – Mechanical Band
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
Circa 1260 – Magnus's Robot
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1478 – DaVinci Robot #1:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1495 – DaVinci Robot #2
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1592 February, 23 – The coming of The Golem
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
Circa 1600 – First Japanese Robots
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
Circa 1562 – Religious Automata
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
17th Century – Machine Control
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1737 – QUACK!
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1769 – Mechanical Chess Champion
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1772 – Robot Dulcimer Player
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1779 – Talking Machine
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1786 – Difference Engine
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
Circa 1790 – Writing Automata
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1791 – Improved Talking Machine
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1800 – Batteries Included
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1801 – Punch Card Control
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1805 – Another writing automation
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1818 – FRANKENSTEIN!!!
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
Circa 1820 – Improved Japanese Robots
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1821 – Wheels turn
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1822 June, 24 – Difference Engine Revived
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1829 – First Motor
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1831 – Power!
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1834 – Word Coined
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1835 – Electric Control
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1837 – Machine speech Returns
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1837 – Babbage's Engine
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1837 June, 20 – Victorian Era Begins
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 05:42:55 am by RJBowman » Logged
RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
*****


« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2013, 05:14:26 am »

Circa 1850 – Ultimate Mechanical Voice
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1863 – Android Enters Lexicon
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1868 – Steam Man
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
Circa 1870 – Remote Control Weapons
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1879 – Light Bulb
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1880 – Player Piano
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1881 – Pinocchio
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1881 – Electric Utility
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1886 – Android in Fiction
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1888 July, 31 – Remote Transmission of Movement
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1893 – Real Steam Man
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1893 – Electric Railroad
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1893 – Boilerplate
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1897 – Radio Control
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1897 – Electric Music
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1900 – Ghost in the Shell
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
  
1900 June – Electric Man
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1901 January, – Victorian Era Ends
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1907 July, 30 – The Robot Enters Fiction
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1921 – Robot Enters the Lexicon
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1924 May – Robocop
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1926 – Robotrix
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1927 – A useful robot
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1928 – Robot Replaces Man
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1929 – Robot Enters the Home
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1929 – Kaiju Robot
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1932 October, 12 – Synthetic Organism
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1939 – Talking Machine Perfected
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1939 – The Coming of Elektro
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1947 Apri – Cybernetics
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1954 – Working Robot
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1956 – Robot Company
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1961 Spring – Factory Robot
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
1971 January, 25 – Killer Robot
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 
2000 – Boilerplate Enters Steampunk Literary Canon
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

2016 July 8 – Killer Police Robot
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: July 24, 2016, 06:21:26 pm by RJBowman » Logged
RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
*****


« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 05:16:36 am »

This space is in the event that I edit the above, and it gets to big for the forums requirements.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 05:31:32 am by RJBowman » Logged
pakled
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Minions Local 305, at your thervice!


« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2013, 08:57:37 pm »

Never mind...too quick on the trigger finger...Wink
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kidkunjer
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2013, 09:38:18 pm »

great! i'm especially enamoured by Joseph Faber's Euphonia...
i would love to see one taken apart or a plan of how it was constructed. does any such information exist?
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RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
*****


« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 12:47:28 am »

After a brief internet search, I can't find any information about how the Euphonia works. There are no recent photos of the device so it probably no longer exists. The inventor and device toured with P.T. Barnum; I can't entirely rule out that it was a fake.
Logged
RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
*****


« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 04:27:57 am »

Should I switch the text and pictures so that the picture pops up on the first click, and the second click reveals the text?
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von Corax
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Prof. Darwin Prætorius von Corax


« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 08:17:03 am »

Should I switch the text and pictures so that the picture pops up on the first click, and the second click reveals the text?
If the picture appears first, then the text should probably appear at the same time. If it were me, I'd likely put the image and text together under a single spoiler anyway.

I'm studying parallel computing this semester, and it occurs to me that M. Jacquard's loom may have been the first multithreaded programmable machine… Tongue
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Dr von Zarkov
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<Maddest Scientist>


« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2013, 05:06:32 am »

I'm studying parallel computing this semester, and it occurs to me that M. Jacquard's loom may have been the first multithreaded programmable machine… Tongue
"multithreaded"?! Ouch, such a pun!
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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2013, 11:43:23 am »

Have you ever heard of Honda's ASIMO?
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Wormster
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 04:37:48 pm »

Or the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

If you're venturing into Sci Fi Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat books are worth looking at for future prospects!
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RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
*****


« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 06:52:12 pm »

Have you ever heard of Honda's ASIMO?

I've seen video of Asimo, but it's a bit modern for this timeline. The mid-twentieth century stuff that you see was included because I thought that it somehow fulfilled earlier predictions or completed something that appeared earlier in the timeline; hence the inclusion of the first robot homicide.

If you think that Asimo is impressive, search YouTube for "Boston Dynamics"; they're a robotics company connected with DARPA, and the stuff that they're building looks like it could march over a mountain and kill you.
Logged
Lokis_Tyro
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 09:17:15 pm »

@ RJBowman

Ah. I understand. I'm not quite sure about this, but wasn't ASIMO the first one to run? Nevertheless, I thought it may be of some interest to some who haven't heard of it.

I've seen all of the Boston Dynamics projects. I have a video of one of their 4-legged creatures on my Facebook because it's undoubtedly the creepiest thing I have ever seen. But I am one that genuinely does not like robots...in fact I have a fear of them lol
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RJBowman
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2013, 10:27:15 pm »

Sony claims that theirs is the first to run:
http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Press_Archive/200312/03-060E/
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Lokis_Tyro
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« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2013, 12:29:03 am »

Thanks for the correction Smiley

I would also like to rephrase my statement. I do like robots, but I don't like the fear!
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RJBowman
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« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2013, 06:59:43 am »

I have reformated the timeline to be easier to view. I am thinking that some of the still images could be replaced with videos.
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Lokis_Tyro
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« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2013, 12:08:50 am »

What about this?
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/ancient-computer.html
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RJBowman
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« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2013, 06:27:23 am »



The famous ancient "computer". It was a geared mechanism for performing astronomcal calculations; it functions have been misrepresented on those psudoscience TV shows that are out to prove that the ancients had super technology.

It is a significant device in that it shows that the Greeks were more advanced in engineering than some scholars had thought; it might belong in automata history; it definitely fits into my larger timeline from which the above automata section was derived.
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Lokis_Tyro
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« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2013, 08:04:49 am »

Heh. It's hard to surprise a guru. This I know from experience.

Is it possible to view the other timeline? At any rate, I'm nowhere near finished with this one. However, I'd take comfort in knowing there is a more "complete" and as accurate list I can learn from.

If you don't mind me asking, what do you think is the most interesting piece in automation?
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RJBowman
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*****


« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2013, 08:30:32 am »

Heh. It's hard to surprise a guru. This I know from experience.

Is it possible to view the other timeline? At any rate, I'm nowhere near finished with this one. However, I'd take comfort in knowing there is a more "complete" and as accurate list I can learn from.

If you don't mind me asking, what do you think is the most interesting piece in automation?

The big timeline has been an ongoing spare-time project; I thought that I might publish it as something similar to a role-playing sourcebook or maybe one of those illustrated guide books of the type that DK Publishing produces, but it would be a pretty ambitious project and maybe beyond my current time resources. Right now, all I have is about two thousand lines in a spread sheet containing dates and very brief bits of text. It covers technology, aviation, exploration, and generalized fantastic goings-on in Victorian history and fiction.

I don't know if I really have a favorite automation; however:

The DiVinci cart is interesting because the sketch of the "car" has long been widely publicized, but only recently has the full functionality of the device been discerned and documented.

The Tesla wireless remote-controlled torpedo is highly notable because Tesla foresaw the possibility of enemy takeover of the device, and build a receiver that required multiple signals at different frequencies to operate; the device was cited as prior art when early computer engineers tried to patent the "and" gate logic circuit.

So I guess that the more humble devices that incorporated real technical innovations impress me more than the flashy doll-like automata built to entertain people, though I love those, too.

And Gakutensoku, the first modern Japanese robot which in reality was more of a rigged demo, is just really weird and interesting.
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RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
*****


« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2013, 08:33:07 am »

I modified the formatting of the timeline last night, and today I discovered that the text in the second section is almost unreadable on my monitor. The preview function on this board sometimes shows you something different from what you actually ultimately get. It's very late now, but I will have to modify it again when I get a chance.
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RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
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« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2013, 05:59:02 pm »

I'm changing the text to all white. You should be able to read it easily on just about every browser, but on some browsers it might not print.
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Lokis_Tyro
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« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2013, 09:10:34 pm »

Looks great on this end. Very easy to read.

I wouldn't let time halter your ambitions. Every little bit counts. I think about how some people spend 20+ years restoring or customizing a car. It sounds silly but eventually it's complete and their pride and joy.

I like the idea of a RPG source-book. I'm skeptical to believe that such a thing exists so it's usefulness gives it an appealing quality. It gives an opportunity to have fun with facts as well, which can be great for teaching kids. And as a resource book, well, that's simply resourceful and would be charming as it is.

I'm spending what is probably too much time reading up on the things in this list you have posted here so if there's something you have little information on I could possibly help? I have a lot of free time between job interviews.....
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RJBowman
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« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2013, 09:40:50 pm »

I have a list of names and events that I wrote down from memory that need dates added to them, not all related to automata; If it were a longer list, I would consider sourcing it to Amazon Turk.
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RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
*****


« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2013, 11:59:23 pm »

I've got a big spreadsheet full of Victorian era information from which this timeline was extracted. It was a lot of work, and I got a bigger response when I started another topic with a just few vintage photos of automat restaurants. It is worth it for me to post more information in timeline format?
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