Saturday, July 09, 2011

Giant human automaton from 1900...or is it?

Here's an interesting link to a newspaper article from the New York Herald, Sept. 9th, 1900 about a large human automaton. least what is being presented as one!

Invented by Louis Philip Perew of Tonawand, New York, the automaton in the article is reported to be 7 feet 5 inches tall and capable of walking, running, moving its eyes, avoiding obstacles, and talking.

For a very complete picture of just what was really going on, I suggest you to click on over to this great article at about Perew's Electric Man.

As the 1910 patent drawings show, the 'automaton' was actually pushed by the engine-powered carriage behind it. A hidden shaft supplied the power for the figure's walking-motion mechanism.

Cleverly concealed controls within the carriage allowed the passenger to direct the figure and its various motions. While it may not have been exactly what was reported in 1900 the newspaper article, Perew's mechanical man was still a work of considerable genius -- both for the engineering and the showmanship.

Designed to be a advertising device, the mechanical man had some measure of success. It was copied later on in the form of a similar carriage-pulling figure known as 'Big Chris'. The large version also eventually inspired Perew to apply for a patent for a toy version, which was granted in 1927. In the toy version, the carriage is located in front and pulls the figure along.

[ Thanks Don! ]

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