Monday, June 26, 2006
All Things Elektro
On Palm Sunday, 2006, Mary and I drove to Mansfield, Ohio, to see an exhibit concerning robots built by Westinghouse, which used to be headquartered in Mansfield. The star of the exhibit at the Mansfield Memorial Museum was Elektro, the Moto-Man. I wrote an essay about the trip, entitled "Robot Redux," which I have submitted to a couple of literary journals. Eventually, the essay may show up here, but for now, I can't post it until I find out if it will be published elsewhere.
I have been asked repeatedly why I would want to go to Mansfield, Ohio to see a robot. I don't know, but Elektro may symbolize a simpler time, a time when science and technology were viewed as positive forces, before people thought about the consequences of pollution and alienation that technological advances have wrought. Robots like Elektro would make for a better life in America, or so it seemed when he first appeared at the 1939 New York World's Fair. You can learn more about the 1939 NYWF and other World's Fairs at www.peacethroughunderstanding.org. It's free to register at this forum. There are some hard core World's Fair collectors and aficianados at this site. Another blog that discusses Elektro is that of Kimberly Blessing, who is advocating Elektro for a spot in the Robot Hall of Fame. Click on the link to cast your vote. That's it for now. There will be more about Elektro in future posts.