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How far back do robots go in the movies?

Learn about the early movie robots that paved the way for stars like C3PO.

Robots have been in the movies since movies began. [© Shutterstock, 2009]
© Shutterstock, 2009
Robots have been in the movies since movies began.

Humans have been fascinated with the idea of mechanics and robots for some time. In 1886, the French novel l'Eve Futur featured a Thomas Edison-like mad scientist building a robot in the likeness of a woman. A British lord falls in love with her, in a variation on the Pygmalion theme. True working robots, in contrast to these entertainment devices, are strictly functional in appearance, looking more like machines rather than human beings or animals.

However, one early exception to this is the very human-looking "Scribe" built in 1773 by two French inventors, Pierre and Henri-Louis Jacquel-Droz, a father and son team, who produced "The Automaton" to dip a quill pen into an inkwell and write a text of 40 characters maximum.

On film, robots have enjoyed a good deal of fame. As early as 1907, mechanized people of sorts appeared on film as seen in the movie, "The Mechanical Statue and the Ingenious Servant."From there, robots in film took on a life of their own.

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