The New Mechanical Puppy
A toy dog that literally walks when one gently tugs on its leash is the fashionable fad among American maids and matrons just now. Several of these fascinating little bow-wows have made their appearance at Atlantic City and other seaside resorts, where they may be seen toddling by the side of their mistresses in absurdly amusing fashion.
The fad is of European origin, and has caught on as amazingly in the Continent as it promises to do here.
Some male critics are likely to aver that the mechanical puppy is an improvement over that of flesh and blood for a whole lot of reasons. The question now is, whether the axiom, “Love me, love my dog,” stands as good with the wheels and springs canine as it did with the one of bone and muscle.
Lexington [KY] Herald 8 July 1911: p. 7
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: It is again one of those whimsical holidays when Staff does not get the day off: “Puppy Day.” One does indeed feel that it would be far easier to “Love me, love my dog,” with a clockwork creature that did not soil the carpets, jump upon the furniture, or howl in the night.
An earlier canine automaton had not the soft fur and big, puppy eyes of the 1911 model, but was designed for more utilitarian purposes:
THE MECHANICAL DOG.
A Meriden (Connecticut) man has invented a mechanical watchdog for the protection of buildings. A small lamp illuminates the eyes, and, by a simple arrangement, the tail pumps a quantity of compressed air into a cylinder, which is concealed in the body of the animal. This air escapes slowly through the dog’s vicious-looking teeth in such a manner that when the animal is placed on the front porch and duly “touched off,” it growls all night in a most alarming manner.
A boarding-house keeper in Meriden experimented with the inventor’s working model, and “set” the automatic guardian inside her front gate at the hour “when churchyards yawn,” The next day it was discovered that out of eighteen of her boarders who had latchkeys sixteen slept at a hotel that night, except one inebriated sixth floorer, who indignantly smashed the model with a brick at about 3.30 a.m.
Otago Witness 10 July 1880: p. 27
Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes
You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.