JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
I found these images browsing through The Illustrated London News for April (date obscured) 1853. In my experience seeing articulated, steam-driven robots in the mid-19th century is pretty unusual. There's an earlier image (from about 1849) that shows a robot like the one pictured above, though it was actually a man in a robot suit, a person driving a machine--the image above of "the Stream Ploughman" is clearly a stand-alone robot, as we can see through the thigh area, though it does have human attributes, like a semi-face and the capacity to whistler while it worked.
Other posts on early robots in this blog include: Mall-Mortuary Faces on Patent Drawings of Robots, 1936-1976; The Edenless World, the First Female Robot; Endless Eve, 1936; Durer's Beautiful Monsters, for example.
The caption may idetify this as an airship, but there are no signs here of ho wthis thing would get aloft. And I have no idea what the dog is doing there.
Another robot, this one with some exposed gearworks. None of these early images ever gets to the point of addressing how these machines would actually process its environment enough to perform a task.
There's a tremednous amount of energy expended to do a relatively simple task in this Rube Golderberg-like device, a massive steam-driven cork puller:
This is an interesting Rube Goldberg-type machine as well, a