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March 21, 2022

Occultus the Bearded Robot, a Clockwork Man That Can Talk and Sing, 1909

Very little is known other than a weird photo and article on a robot named Occultus or Barbarossa, exhibited in Berlin in 1909 by Herr Adolph Whitman, a famous German inventor.

After many years, Whitman has succeeded in making a mechanical man that can walk, and make other human movements such as speak, sing, whistle and laugh. This mechanical masterpiece is so human that at a distance of a yard it cannot be told from a living being. The figure is a mass of intricate cogs and machinery.

In the chest, a number of phonographs are arranged, but how the machinery is controlled is a secret of the inventor. It has been said that wireless electric waves are at the bottom of the mechanical miracle. Each part of the figure is controlled by a little electric motor.

There is currently a Turkish story going around that Occultus is an early Ottoman empire robot built as a gift for the Japanese, under the name of Alamet. An early Turkish paper shows this robot with Gernsback’s Robot Soldier. A misassociation has been made somewhere.

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