The First American Robot

In 1868, two men named Zadoc Dederick and Isaac Grass constructed a mechanical man designed to pull a carriage using steam-powered legs.

The Steam Man

The device cost around $2,000 to build, and was exhibited for several years, but never sold commercially due to insurance concerns.

It served as the inspiration for the novel The Steam Man of the Praires by a Edward Ellis.

The steam man’s current whereabouts are unknown, but it is generally believed to have been lost in museum fire.

It’s generally regarded as “The first American robot,” though technically not one. Does this mean there were earlier such devices constructed elsewhere? I don’t know. Further research required.


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