Freddie Ford returns for National Robotics Week

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Ford Robot

This promotional Ford Robot is Freddie's great-grand-automoton. Image: commorancy/Flickr/CC BY

We are coming to the end of Robotics Week. That’s right, a week dedicated to all things robot. To celebrate, Ford has dug up some old pictures and press releases about an old friend. Freddie Ford was a talking promotional robot used at events in the late 1960s.

Made almost entirely out of auto parts

Towering above the crowds at nine feet high and weighing in at 800 pounds, Freddie was built almost entirely out of auto parts. He had oil pans for feet and brake shoes for hands. His ears were made of radiator caps with car antennas attached. His eyes were parking lights from a Mustang, and the backup light from a Thunderbird was his mouth. His arms were mufflers and his legs were shock absorbers. His chest was 126 inches around and his waist was 120 inches.

A tin pitchman for Ford

Freddie once was used to help Ford sell cars at state fair exhibits and at auto shows in 1967. He was no C3PO, but he could answer a dozen questions in front of an audience. Somehow, most of his answers contained corny jokes and spoke glowingly of Ford products.

Canned corn

Here are a few of Freddie’s exchanges with fair goers in the late Vietnam era, as recorded in Ford’s press release:

Fair goer: “What does it mean to ‘Walk softly and carry a big stick’?’”

Freddie: “The quotation is really, ‘Drive softly and carry a big six’.”

Fair goer: “Why do you have disc brakes for hands?”

Freddie: “They grip faster and better and 55 percent easier than manual brakes. For 1970, power front disc brakes are available on all models and standard on some.”

Want to read one more? Sure you do.

Fair goer: “Are those oil pans really your feet?”

Freddie: “Yes, sir, these are 390 V-8 oil pans from the biggest V-8 that uses only regular gas. And remember …. oil changes are only needed every six months or 6,000 miles.”

Good to know, Freddie.

[Buy, lease cars safely and securely from home.]

Next gen corn-talking bot

The Freddie from 1967 was a second generation of the robot. His namesake predecessor was used for three earlier years, promoting Ford products until he got an upgrade.

National Robotics Week

National Robotics Week is the second full week in April. Its purpose is to raise the awareness of robots, which are employed in a variety of modern industries. Also, it is to encourage young people to pursue STEM interests — Science, Technology and Engineering and Math.

New Ford robot hires

Ford also used the occasion to announce that it has put about 700 new robots to work in its Louisville, Ky., plant.


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