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"There's a poetry in the materials we use to construct our world of artifacts; it speaks of our long history as a technological species."
- William Gibson

Electrical Valet  
  A robotic manservant, skilled in dressing its owner.  

Spratt pulled a little crank on the wall, and a long metal box at one end of the room clattered open. Out of this case there stalked what, at the first startled glimpse, Harry took to be a man — a man eight feet tall, and with long swinging limbs. A second glimpse, however, showed him that the being had no face other than two small gleaming electric orbs which served in place of eyes. Its arms and legs, as it came clanking across the room, were seen to be of iron; its trunk, beneath the gray toga which it wore, was obviously of the same substance; its head bristled with electric batteries instead of hair; a coil of wires reached out from behind it, and there was a continuous buzzing from somewhere in its heart.


(The electrical valet from 'The Lord of Tranerica' by Stanley Coblentz)

"Didn't you have electrical valets either, in your day?" inquired Spratt, with a pitying expression, as the iron monster approached at a steady stride.

No, thank goodness!" declared Harry, retreating slightly, although he strove his best to hold his ground.

But he watched in fascinated interest as the automaton halted just in front of Spratt, reached one long arm upward, plucked a violet toga from a hook near the ceiling, spread it out before the Tyngall, and deftly folded and removed the oil-smeared robe which Spratt doffed. The great seven-fingered hands of the machine, moreover, smoothed out and dusted the dictator's new clothes after he had donned them; then, as if under intelligent guidance, turned to Harry and prepared to perform a similar service for him.

You see, the principle is simple," explained Spratt, as he noted the dumbfounded amazement on his visitor's face. "It works by radio control. Electrical impulses, which I discharge through the air by pressing a button or moving a switch or rod, are transmitted to very sensitive receiving bulbs within the valet; and then, by means of amplifiers —"

From The Lord of Tranerica, by Stanton A. Coblentz.
Published by Dynamic Science Stories in 1939
Additional resources -

The electrical valet performed another useful service - barbering:

Now we’ll clip off those hairs from your face,” continued Spratt, indicating Harry’s mustache. “The ancients had a name for it, I can’t remember what. No man nowadays would dream of growing such a brush under his nose.”

It was useless for the victim to protest. The electrical valet produced a pair of shears, and set to work; and Harry thought it wise not to resist too strenuously, lest some accidental motion cause half of his lip to be forfeited.

Compare to the automatic valet from Looking Forward: A Dream of the United States of the Americas in 1999 (1899) by Arthur Bird, the butler-valet robot from The Jester (1951) by William Tenn, the robant from The Impossible Planet (1953) by Philip K. Dick, the consumption robots from The Midas Plague (1954) by Frederik Pohl, the robutler from The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge (1970) by Harry Harrison and the autobutle from The Godmakers (1972) by Frank Herbert.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Lord of Tranerica
  More Ideas and Technology by Stanton A. Coblentz
  Tech news articles related to The Lord of Tranerica
  Tech news articles related to works by Stanton A. Coblentz

Electrical Valet-related news articles:
  - WAM Arm Robots Help Patients Get Dressed
  - Care-O-Bot 4 Personal Service Robot

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