Archive Gallery: 137 Years of Robotic Fascination

The mailmobile, the cigarette-smoking mechanical man, Al Capone's would-be robot army and more retro robots from PopSci's archives

We’ve all heard of Roombas, robot submarines, and creepy humanoid robots, but have you ever heard of Elektro, the cigarette-smoking robot from the 1939 World’s Fair, or the Budweiser-fetching Omnibot 2000 from 1986? Wrapping up National Robotics Week, we’ve combed our archives for a primer on the past century’s most amazing robots.

Granted, not all of them survived the passage of time and modern technology, but we’re holding out for engineers to revive Omnibot 2000, the Scotch-pouring mechanical butler; and Snail, which uses computerized directions to put out fires around the city. Click through our gallery to check out the cutest, creepiest, and most dangerous ‘bots from back in the day.