World's First Family of RobotsDevon Smith (1926 - 2003)


Relocated (incl. Museums)

Original Location

Ellwood City, PA


Ellwood City, PA, United States



About the Artist/Site

With credits including “Guinness World Record Holder for Longest Total Distance Hitchhiked (1973-85)”, 'World War II veteran', 'coffee aficionado', 'and junk salvager', Devon Smith’s turn to art was not outrageous in context with his many other adventures. Smith began hauling scrap in his home-state of Pennsylvania after settling down from his hitchhiking excursions across the globe. 

Using recycled parts, Smith created a family of robotic sculptures, each named after a heavenly body: Venus, Sun, Sis-Star, and dog Pluto. A decade and a half after the robots’ creation, the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore showcased the sculptural family in “We Are Not Alone: Angels and Other Aliens,” where Smith held a wedding for robots Venus and Jupiter. Assigning roles like mother, father, and siblings, Smith uses the robotic unions as an excuse to expand his manufactured family with new members like brother-in-law Mars and sister-in-law Saturn. Smith crafted over 14 robots, using recycled parts from oscillating fans, broken hair dryers, and sewer pipes, and whatever other junk Smith felt he could personify. 

Smith’s eccentric nature and personable attitude are mentioned in every account of interactions with the artist. Aside from his quirks such as eating ketchup-based “tomato soup” and drinking over 8 cups of coffee a day, Smith is remembered for his creativity and ingenuity: turning scrap into a celestial robotic family.

~Nikki Ranney, 2023



DeVon Smith (

"Robot Man" and World-Record Hitchhiker | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper (

Sellen, Betty-Carol. Self-taught, outsider and folk art: A guide to american artists, locations and resources. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2016. 

Something From Nothing: Remembering Artist DeVon Smith with Filmmaker David Craig – Pittsburgh Orbit

Visionary turns junk into family of robots (



Scrap, found objects

Map & Site Information

Ellwood City, PA us
Latitude/Longitude: 40.8617303 / -80.2864515

Nearby Environments


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

William Brady

Centerville, Pennsylvania

Button House

Dover, OH

Halloween Site

Cranesville, Pennsylvania

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