Some emails are more expected than others; especially this one I got from my mum today: Hi Kevin - this might be of interest to you. It is a web page about the Morecambe mechanical elephants - Eric is Nana Brenda's cousin. He had done a handwritten account of his early life with some photos and left it with Brenda for us to have a look at today. Very interesting. The website Cybernetic Zoo is "a history of cybernetic animals and early robots", well worth a little look.
She was right on many accounts; it was of interest to me (still is in fact), and Cybernetic Zoo really is worth a look. There is a staggering amount of information - personal letters, photographs, newspaper cuttings, original research, and patent applications - about the cybernetic achievements of my un-met seaside roboticist relative. You may not think a spindly, ricketty trundling jumbo counts as a robot, but it's certainly mechanical, certainly proto-cybernetic – although I doubt it will be conscripted by Skynet as part of the War against the Machines. Still it would be fun to ride around on an old fella's grey robo-pachyderm.
Right now I don't have the concentration to properly investigate the story of Morecambe's mechanical elephants; I'm very heavy-lidded. But when I'm bright and breezy and full of vim, beans and/or spunk, I will learn all I can and regurgitate it here. Perhaps with pictures and original research conducted within the depths of the family vault. I'll also see if I can dig up some info on ol' Uncle Terence's discovery of the Baghdad battery, and my ancestor Joseph Curwen who lived for well over a hundred years and conducted bizarre and dangerous experiments in alchemy and black magic.
I'm too tired to go on. I'll be back as always tomorrow – hopefully with more to say. Night-night.