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Robot Roundup

Postby pennymachines » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:48 pm

Following Brigham's query about surviving robot fortune tellers (in the AMECO Catalogue topic), here's a roundup of what's known.

First we have the non-coin operated examples:

Selfridges, London around 1934
cheeky wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:30 pm
They used to have one of these in the Wonderland arcade in Southend.

I spoke to the new owner about 5 years ago who binned it! !PUZZLED!

Telepathic Robot - The Scientific Miracle, Blackpool, 1937

Of the two coin-operated robots in the catalogue, all that remains of AMECO's Vulcan The Talking Robot (1935) discussed here and described in detail here are the shellac records, some of which have been seen at the Elephant House.

AMECO's Vulcan The Talking Robot
Vulcan on Blackpool Pier, postcard, 1935
Vulcan-blackpool-1935.jpg (19.83 KiB) Viewed 2354 times
Above we see him, newly installed on Blackpool pier, in a 1935 postcard.

And all that remains of Original Machine Manufacturer's Erik The Robot of 1936, apparently, are some of the token charms he dispensed, which were found by Sweetmeats.

Original Machine Manufacturer's Eric The Robot

He's seen briefly in an arcade in the 1937 film, Storm in a Teacup, where he announces Rex Harrison's weight as 11 St., 6 Lbs and 4 Oz. Clearly this was comic license; although, like Vulcan, he was a talking robot, such prosaic pronouncements were the preserve of talky scales.

That leaves Brenner's Magic Robot Impressionist (1940s) discussed here,

Brenner's Magic Robot Impressionist

Adelphi Manufacturing Co Ltd.'s Victor The Robot of 1936, discussed here, patiently awaiting the attentions of Gameswat,

Victor The Robot

and finally, Brenner's magisterial Robot King of 1934, seen here at John Gresham's Pocklington museum. Sweetmeats kindly provided the photo and for a while owned this giant. Most impressively, he tells me, this machine prints out the fortunes, saving the operator the expense of pre-printed cards.
Brenner's Robot King
Pocklington collection

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Robot Roundup

Postby sweetmeats » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:49 pm

I have never seen the Eric the robot machine but do have six different tokens from the machine collected over several years. They are each 21mm in diameter. Having a similar front with a different back, each showing a good luck charm. If anyone has a different token I would be pleased to know the detail.
Eric the robot tokens20190811_13360455.jpg
Eric the robot tokens20190811_13313561 (2).jpg
Eric the robot tokens20190811_13284957.jpg
Eric the robot tokens20190811_13262137.jpg
Eric the robot tokens20190811_13221979.jpg
Eric the robot tokens20190811_13184272.jpg
Eric the robot tokens20190811_13144312.jpg

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Re: Robot Roundup

Postby gameswat » Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:32 pm

PM, regarding the Robot King, Pat Gresham informed me that he was much disliked by location owners and operators due to the novel instant print method, which was supposed to dazzle users by being freshly inked......Except soiled children's hands soon dyed everything in sight! I can vouch for this as an issue because we used to rent a jukebox every Christmas to the local daily newspaper printing factory. Even though it was only in the canteen overnight for the party I vividly remember it being smudged black every time when picked up the next day! That workplace must've driven the cleaners insane!? :dammit:

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Re: Robot Roundup

Postby pennymachines » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:41 pm

Innovative floor-standing fortune tellers were John Brenner's forte, so it's not surprising he started this new genre. Evidently it fizzled out after a couple of years though. Were they too expensive or not very popular?

Brenner tried harder than most to convince the punters that his machines were doing something more mysterious than delivering cards. As Gameswat suggests, that was perhaps the purpose of King Robot's printing mechanism, more than the cost saving aspect. After all, that mechanism would have made it an expensive machine. Brenner's second and final attempt, the Magic Robot Impressionist, did away with this cost, and the inky finger problem, by dispensing fortunes from a large printed roll.

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Re: Robot Roundup

Postby simon68 » Sat Jan 30, 2021 2:27 pm

Hi, I am new to this group/forum but wanted to let you know that I have a different Erik the Robot token to the 6 versions displayed.
The style is different but still aluminium and is around 28mm in diameter so is bigger than the “standard ones”.
Would anyone be interested in seeing photos?

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Re: Robot Roundup

Postby pennymachines » Sat Jan 30, 2021 6:13 pm

You bet we would! !!YIPPEE!!

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