Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I'm strictly an ivory-tower person. I can explain things but I can't do things."
- Isaac Asimov

Automatic Valet  
  A robotic manservant.  

Some years ago the need of a machine which would dress persons on arising from bed, make their toilet and prepare them for breakfast, or a stroll on the street, was generally felt.

Several attempts were made to supply this want, but nothing was perfected until M. Pantalon announced the completion of his automatic valet. This machine was shaped very much like an ordinary man, except that it was built on an absolutely square plan. There were two upholstered legs, on which reposed a heavy, square chest, and above the chest was the head, also square and resembling a block.

The machinery was directly in the center of the body-chest, controlling the movement of the legs and arms, the latter being round, four jointed and twenty-seven inches long. Instead of a face, the head bore a dial, on which the hour was depicted. The whole valet was wound up by a small crank in the back. If a man wished to be aroused, at, let it be said, 8 o’clock in the morning, he adjusted the alarm button on a small dial on the face of the large clock at that hour.

After turning on the water the valet moved back to the bed, threw the covers aside, and with one of its automatic arms gently lifted the man from his resting place, conveyed him to the bath-room, laid his night robes aside and immersed him. The bath completed, the valet drew from its chest-cupboard two fresh-towels, with which it briskly rubbed the bather, and then again lifting him up carried him back into the bedroom, where it proceeded to dress him in clothes which had been laid in a certain place the night before.


(Automatic Valet from 'Looking Forward' by Arthur Bird)

From its automatic chest the valet took comb, brush and whisk broom, and in less time than would be ordinarily consumed in telling about it, the toilet was completed. A feature of the invention, as perfected by Pantalon, was the arrangement on the time dial by which the speed of the valet could be regulated, and a man could be dressed quickly or slowly, as he preferred. For busy men, M. Pantalon has invented valets that do the business in less than three minutes, including bath. The chief value of these valets is that, not being human, they cannot gossip, and every man may become a hero to his valet, provided the valet is automatic.

Technovelgy from Looking Forward: A Dream of the United States of the Americas in 1999, by Arthur Bird.
Published by L.C. Childs & Son in 1899
Additional resources -

Compare to the electrical valet from The Lord of Tranerica (1939) by Stanton A. Coblentz, the robant from The Impossible Planet (1953) by Philip K. Dick, the consumption robots from The Midas Plague (1954) by Frederik Pohl, the robutler from The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge (1970) by Harry Harrison and the autobutle from The Godmakers (1972) by Frank Herbert.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Looking Forward: A Dream of the United States of the Americas in 1999
  More Ideas and Technology by Arthur Bird
  Tech news articles related to Looking Forward: A Dream of the United States of the Americas in 1999
  Tech news articles related to works by Arthur Bird

Articles related to Robotics
Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
SpaceHopper Microgravity Robot Lands On Its Feet
No Tips! Robotic Food Delivery In Phoenix
Micro-Robots Are Smallest, Fully Functional

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Live Stream With Meta-Ban Multimodal Smart Glasses
'...the bug-eyed, opaque gape of her True-Vu lenses.'

'Autonomous' Waymo Improves Driving With Remote Human Operators
'...some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life... in his hands.'

Will Whales Be Our First Contact?
'He had piloted the Adastra to its first contact with the civilization of another solar system.'

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.'

Singapore Writers Push Back On LLM Training
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.'

Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.