Even before we started to have "real" robots, we have a whole history of our relationship to them. Below is a collection of images and links I am gathering to create an instant overview of what we have imagined in the past and what we are building today.
The Golem of Prague, traditional Jewish folklore of an anthropomorphic clay being created to protect the people. Some dispute this as having nothing to do with robotics, but the proto idea of a replacement for human action leads on to future conceptions for automation and robotics. (Wikipedia reference)