Mansfield Memorial Museum – Mansfield, Ohio - Atlas Obscura

Mansfield Memorial Museum

The permanent home of Elektro, the celebrity automaton of the 1939 World's Fair. 


Back at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, Elektro the robot caused as stir as a technological wonder. But his popularity eventually waned with the introduction of fancier robots and other marvels in the mid-20th century and Elektro was dismantled and disappeared. Now he’s been resurrected and is on permanent display at the Mansfield Memorial Museum, not far from where he was built at the Westinghouse facility in Mansfield.

Elektro could smoke, talk, and walk, all controlled with voice commands. The golden automaton was so popular that he returned for the 1940 World’s Fair and then toured the country as a promotional tool for Westinghouse. However, his casual smoking, calling people “Toots,” and tired jokes eventually made him seem dated, not to mention that new innovations had made him obsolete. 

When he was dismantled, his exact whereabouts became lost. But then his head was found packed away in a box and eventually his body turned up in a barn. Now he’s back to his imposing seven-foot height and standing in the Mansfield Memorial Museum.

The museum was founded in 1889 and has an incredibly eclectic two floors of displays. These include Native American, Roman, African, Asian, military, and natural history artifacts, as well as an exhibition on airplanes. There is also an exceptionally odd display of taxidermy with weird creature mash-ups and anthropomorphic creations. 

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