Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em - "Knock 'Em Out" - Steam Punk Robots

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots may have seemed tres futuristic when first designed by Marvin Glass and Associates and sold by the Marx toy company in 1964, during the height of the space race.

But they were anticipated by more than 80 years by a steam-punk cartoon of a robot published in the American humor magazine, Puck, in 1883.

Their name even rhymes with the original caption: 

"We Will Knock 'Em Out."

Puck, Volume 12, Number 311, February 21, 1883, page 395.

When combined with the pointed toes and jointed legs of a steam-punk, cybernetic “steam-power walker” imagined in 1829, it creates a very close approximation of the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots we know and love today.

Robert Stuard, Esq., Historical & Descriptive Anecdotes, of Steam Engines, and their Inventors and Improvers, Volume 1, London, Wightman & Company, 1829, page 291.

Come to think of it, the title of the 1883 cartoon, "Puck's Champion," calls to mind another metallic robot from 94 years later - the cover art for Queen's 1977 album, News of the World, featuring the hit song,

     "We are the Champions."


Everything old is new again.