JF Ptak Science Books Post 2570
There seems to be a developing thread in the stuff I've been saving on the history of anthropomorphic robots pre-1955 or so--and that is, the robotic or computer brain. These are not nearly as plentiful as the robot-entire, or at least that is the way it seems from a general impression of long and sloppy reading in the area. I bumped into another brain post, this one still on the early-ish side, coming from Popular Science Monthly for 1930. It really is a stand alone, and an illustration for an advertisement for radios, but it still sent a message to the reader, and it seems that it probably was still very uncommon territory in the application of images like this:
That really is beginning to put the hot tube-scented "logic" into biological.
Here's another, one that I wrote about some time ago, though this one has more the makings of a computer in place of some tubes and a dial.
This may well be the first public, popular, report on the Harvard Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC) (appearing in the American Weekly, 15 October 1944), the first automatic, general-purpose, digital calculator. Known as the MARK 1, it was the brainchild of Howard Aiken (1900-1973), a graduate student at Harvard, who started it all in 1937 by proposing a series of coordinated Monroe calculators to function as a unified whole that would cross the threshold of the physically-impossible calculation (though theoretically possible) to the eminently doable. Here's a detail of the inset:
There are some others in the category, including this fine image from the Burroughs people:
The Burroughs Adding Machine company did about as much as anyone to objectify the worker in America during the 1880-1915 period, making the worker a part of a machine within the machine. In a way it was like creating the Ford assembly line for people sitting down.
The company was founded on the work of William S. Burroughs' grandfather, William Seward Burroughs (1857-1898 and native son of Rochester, NY), who created a mechanical calculator to help him add long columns of numbers in his job as a bank clerk. American Arithmometer Company was founded by him and others in 1886, later evolving into Burroughs Adding Machine Company (1904), Burroughs Corporation (1953), and then into Unisys (combining with Sperry Univac in 1986) before sliding away.
In any event the adding machine connected millions of people to a mechanizing process of what had previously been a mental operation--the flywheel in the side of the head of the clerk/accountant in this add for Technical World (More Fascinating than Fiction) for August 1915 wasn't too terribly far from the truth. Interesting that on the other side of the head of this fellow, behind the other ear, is a pencil.
In any event, these are three of this developing collection of metalizing/electrifying the brain for its robot-y future.