From the great reeking dumps rose Corona Park, site of the 1939's World's Fair and home – briefly – to “the world’s first celebrity robot,” Elektro. “Elektro the Moto-Man” began life as one of several different automatons built by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in its Mansfield, Ohio laboratory.
Elektro could do no useful household chores or protect our nation in time of war, but no one had seen a real-life robot before – let alone a gleaming gold-painted gizmo in human form – and he became the star of the 1939 World’s Fair.
Though each robot reputedly cost Westinghouse hundreds of thousands of dollars, their feats of wonder were limited by a rudimentary technology. Elektro’s "accomplishments" included walking, talking, and smoking, i.e. rolling forward slowly, moving his head, jaw, and arms via the action of ordinary motors and chains, playing a 78-rpm record, and using bellows inside his head to puff a cigarette placed in his mouth by an assistant.