Boilerplate’s media profile was probably highest during the Spanish-American War. Stephen Crane mentions him in one dispatch, Richard Harding Davis in two others, and Theodore Roosevelt briefly writes about the “mechanical mule” in his book, The Rough Riders. All such accounts are dismissive of the robot’s potential and personality. According to writers like Crane, the great human qualities — honor, valor, and sacrifice — were characteristics Boilerplate could never hope to possess.
This can perhaps be attributed to the dawn of automation in the Victorian era, when machines were beginning to supplant people in various occupations. To contemporary writers, Boilerplate may have represented a threat to the human spirit.