Being a retro-futurist, it’s hardly surprising that Augustus Robottom is a man ahead of his time.
Reared in a wealthy family, where servants were the norm, it always seemed wrong to him that these people – some little older than himself – should have to rise earlier and work harder than his family, just to provide for their every necessity and whim.
When he came of age, therefore, Augustus set about inventing artificial servants. These engaging little mechanisms, no larger than a domestic pet and therefore easily portable, are able to perform the tasks traditionally undertaken by those in service.
He originally called his creations ‘Robotts’, after himself, but this gradually became shortened to the more familiar spelling we know today.
They perform a variety of household activities.
Robot T, for example, brews an excellent cup of tea and is able to provide endless refills.Its stereoscopic eyes can swivel, allowing it to check all parts of the room for thirsty individuals, who might be in need of a refreshing beverage. The pressure gauge on its front prevents the urn from overheating.
Robot M (affectionately known as Milly) performs the role of housekeeper. She patrols the house tirelessly, ensuring that all is as it should be, using the aerial on her head to communicate wirelessly with the other robots. Naturally, Milly is never overbearing or officious, but retains a calm, gentle demeanour at all times.
Robot Y performs a plethora of odd jobs, searching endlessly for creaking doors, broken hinges, leaky taps or holes in fences. His head rotates through 360 degrees, so that he can spot potential problems in a moment.
Gus is delighted with his diminutive workforce and is the envy of his acquaintances. He has even decided to go into production, using the profits from his robot sales to set up a fund for unemployed domestic staff to set up their own businesses, thus releasing them from a life of servitude.
I wish I could say that every redundant maid and stable boy is delighted with this turn of events, but there are some, alas, who sadly miss their former employment.
“Some day,” Augustus tells them, “you will thank me for giving you this new chance in life and allowing you to release the creativity and ingenuity that lies within. Some day, humanity will hand over all the dull, repetitive jobs to robots. Mark my words!”