Elektro is the nickname of a robot built by the Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Electric Corporation in its Mansfield, Ohio facility between 1937 and 1938. Seven feet tall, weighing 265 pounds, humanoid in appearance, he could walk by voice command, speak about 700 words (using a 78-rpm record player), smoke cigarettes, blow up balloons, and move his head and arms. Elektro's body consisted of a steel gear, cam and motor skeleton covered by an aluminum skin. His photoelectric "eyes" could distinguish red and green light. He was on exhibit at the 1939 New York World's Fair and reappeared at that fair in 1940, with "Sparko", a robot dog that could bark, sit, and beg.
Elektro toured North America in 1950 in promotional appearances for Westinghouse, and was displayed at Pacific Ocean Park in Venice, California in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He also appeared as "Thinko", in Sex Kittens Go to College (1960), which starred Mamie Van Doren andTuesday Weld. In the 1960s, his head was given to a retiring Westinghouse engineer and his body was sold for scrap.
In 1992, the dance band Meat Beat Manifesto produced the song "Original Control (Version 2)" which prominently featured snippets of Elektro's monologues, quoting lines such as "I am Elektro" and "My brain is bigger than yours".
Elektro survived the scrap pile and is being restored by Jack Weeks. It is currently the property of the Mansfield Memorial Museum.