Today I thought we could talk about robots. Robots were certainly a theme at TED. We saw the famous Baxter who has been designed to work with humans in physical labour locations (aka factories). And the cool new personal robot, the Romotive, was also demoed (I so want one of these!).
But I wanted to talk about some old-fashioned robots. Old-fashioned robots who used to deliver flowers. Botanical Delivery Bots from Wrylon Robotical - a company started by Rhoderick R. Wrylon, that created and dominated the flower delivering robot market. He opened the doors of the first Wrylon Robotical delivery storefront in 1906 and the company thrived until 1913, when it mysteriously shuttered its doors.
I recently acquired the Illustrated Catalog of these robots and it is incredible. Barry McWilliams (Twitter) is the talented illustrator behind the Wrylon Catalog. The little book is truly a marvel. Aside from the actual catalog full of illustrations and ads, McWilliams also included some delightful ephemera .. delivery orders, a letter that mentions rumours of robots gone missing, a newspaper article about the closing of the factory. I really hope this all points to a larger project that McWilliams has in mind, because what a fun adventure that would be!!
Now, the Illustrated Catalog was available through a Kickstarter project. (Side note .. I'm a little obsessed with Kickstarter. But more on that in a later post.) And is not currently available. Sad face. BUT! McWilliams has started a second Wrylon-related project on Kickstarter and there are still 7 days (ends March 13) to get in on that project. It's a collection of Wrylon Robotical Field Guides … designed for engineers and "Bot Spotters". Three of them will be filled with sketches, tips for spotting, etc. The fourth (a stretch goal) is a blank grid-ruled notebook for our own sketches, but still in the Wrylon Field Guide style.
I've signed up for this Kickstarter too (don't tell Rosemary). And if you are as charmed by these robots as I am, I'd encourage you to sign up as well. You get a 3-pack (plus the blank notebook) for only $15 (that includes shipping outside the US; in the US it's only $12). This project has already been funded, so it will go ahead. But I really want McWilliams to receive as much support as possible because I love these little bots and I want to know more about their adventures and why the heck the factory shut down. This is the kind of storytelling and creativity that we need more of (not Cougar Town and Fifty Shades of Grey (IMNSHO)). So, check out the video below and then hop on over to the Kickstarter and pledge your $15 to the project. I know you won't regret it!