Sartorial Robotics by Adam Whiton

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Figure 2-3. Westinghouse’s Mr. Televox (left) and Miss Katrina Van Televox (right).

Westinghouse went so far as to promote the Katrina van Televox, the mechanical wonder maiden, with an associated price tag of $22,000 USD in 1930. She is advertised as able to talk, answer the phone, operate a vacuum cleaner and make coffee, Figure 2-3. Note Miss Katrina Van Televox is also dressed in traditional maid apparel signaling her intended role and situating the robot in the social class structure as part of the servant class. While this was clearly for publicity purposes, Westinghouse was positioning themselves as an innovative leader in the emerging consumer electronic appliance market, and so positioned the robot as a potential consumer item intended for servant tasks.

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