Archive for the ‘Walking Machines’ Category

1923 – Walking Lunar Rover (Science Fiction) – Homer Eon Flint (American)

flint walking lunar rover 1923 x640 1923   Walking Lunar Rover (Science Fiction)   Homer Eon Flint (American)

The vehicle in the book is described as being bee-like; when not flying, then walking.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the lunar rovers of science fiction were sometimes more humorous than scientific. Homer Eon Flint, in 1923, proposed in his novel "Out of the Moon"  what might be termed an ornithomorphic design.  It resembled a large, two-legged, bird like rover that walked across the Moon.  


Other related information:

In the book Devolutionist, space travelers experiment with Venusian methods of telepathic space travel. They leave our solar system to discover and explore the earthlike planet Capellette of the star Capella. In the Emancipatrix, they go to the planet Sanus of the star Arcturus. In both unique worlds, they become embroiled in the struggles and challenges of the inhabitants, and much more. This is Book Two of the Dr. Kinney adventures. (Summary by A.Gramour)

the devolutionist and the emancipatrix homer eon flint 1923   Walking Lunar Rover (Science Fiction)   Homer Eon Flint (American)

The above book cover shows the vehicle to be an ornithopter, but the landing gear (the legs) are not shown.

For a more recent walking ornithopter, see here.


HomerEonFlindt 1923   Walking Lunar Rover (Science Fiction)   Homer Eon Flint (American)

Homer Eon Flint (1888 as Homer Eon Flindt – 1924) was a writer of pulp science fiction novels and stories. He began working as a scenarist for silent films (reportedly at his wife's insistence) in 1912. In 1918 he published "The Planeteer" in All-Story Weekly. His "Dr. Kinney" stories were reprinted by Ace Books in 1965, and with Austin Hall he co-wrote the novel The Blind Spot. Reportedly he died as a result of an involvement in a bank robbery attempt. According to his granddaughter the only witness, was himself a gangster.


See all the known Steam Men and early Walking Machines here.


1901-3 – Walking Lunar Vehicle (Science Fiction) – Jerzy Zulawski (Polish)

 1901 3   Walking Lunar Vehicle (Science Fiction)   Jerzy Zulawski (Polish)

Some of these early concepts for lunar exploration had elements of practicality; others were pure whimsy. One of the first, by Polish science-fiction writer Jerzy Zulawski (1874-1915), fell into the first category. His rover design appeared as an illustration in his 1901 tale "Szrebyym Globie" ["On the Silver Globe"] and featured full pressurization, electrical power, and two forms or propulsion: large, spoked wheels that could be interchanged with leg or "claws" mounted on a triangular framework that would be used to climb up mountains or travel over rough terrain. Zulawski's invention, like Boeing's real lunar rover, had a top speed of about 10 miles per hour. He also realised, like those who would follow his footsteps, that combustion engines wouldn't work on the airless Moon, and instead, chose to power his vehicle with an electric motor, and like most later concepts of Lunar Rovers, Zulawski's was a big vehicle with an enclosed cabin. His, he said, could carry a crew of five and a year's worth of supplies.
zulawski 1903  x640 1901 3   Walking Lunar Vehicle (Science Fiction)   Jerzy Zulawski (Polish)
Zulawski's story was originally a serialisation starting in 1901, later published as a book in 1903.
220px Ezustmezok 1901 3   Walking Lunar Vehicle (Science Fiction)   Jerzy Zulawski (Polish)

See all the known Steam Men and early Walking Machines here.


1933 – Giant Walking Bridge – M. Clemients (French)

robot walking bridge 1933 x640 1933   Giant Walking Bridge   M. Clemients (French)

During 1933, engineer's were determining how the Golden Gate Bridge[1] was to be built.

robot walking bridge 1933 5 x640 1933   Giant Walking Bridge   M. Clemients (French)

Source: Modern Mechanix and Inventions, Dec 1933.

One engineer's suggestion for the solution of the problem of sinking caissons[2] is depicted here in this picture of a "walking bridge." Definite placement of caissons has always been an engineering bugaboo when they are floated over a spot and sunk. Especially is this true in harbors where there are side rips, or in rivers where strong currents are found. While the walking version may be impracticable, a caterpillar footed bridge is certainly plausible and has many merrits from a constructional standpoint.

…….

The size of the caissons which must be built and sunk to enable piers to be built has called forth one of the most novel engineering proposals of recent years – still another bridge, a “Walking Bridge” if you please – which will walk to the location with the caisson and there accurately sink it upon the exact spot required.

Caissons are an essential impedimenta to bridge building of this type, and they are hard to handle in tide rips or rivers which have currents. M. Clemients, French engineer of Paris, has proposed a mobile structure which could pick up the caisson and either by walking with it, or on caterpillar treads, move to the spot desired to muck the caisson in.

[1] The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate strait, the mile-wide, three-mile-long channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

[2] caisson from wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caisson_(engineering). In geotechnical engineering, a caisson (/ˈkeɪsən/ or /ˈkeɪsɒn/) is a watertight retaining structure used, for example, to work on the foundations of a bridge pier, for the construction of a concrete dam, or for the repair of ships. These are constructed such that the water can be pumped out, keeping the working environment dry. When piers are to be built using an open caisson and it is not practical to reach suitable soil, friction pilings may be driven to form a suitable sub-foundation. These piles are connected by a foundation pad upon which the column pier is erected.

See all the known Steam Men and early Walking Machines here.

See all the known early Humanoid Robots here.

1916 – “King Grey” the Electric Titan – Vern Pieper (American)

Illustrated World 1916 12 titan robot 1916   King Grey the Electric Titan   Vern Pieper (American)

I first saw this mentioned in David M. Earle's interesting book titled "Re-Covering Modernism: Pulps, Paperbacks, and the Prejudice of Form", but John Ptak's recent post reminded me of it. I have used his image of the prototype walking machine.

electric titan 1916 prototype 1916   King Grey the Electric Titan   Vern Pieper (American)

The model of King Grey, the Electric Titan.  Although called "Electric", the motive power is by two large 40 H.P. automobile engines. A smaller engine will generate electricity to be used for sensors and controls. See below article for further details.

Another source.
The Colac Herald [Victoria, Australia], 30 Jan 1918
ELECTRIC WAR TITANS.
THE FIRST MODEL ASTONISHED THE NATIVES.
It is highly improbable, as we have said before, that military "Tanks" will stop where they are. The invention is too revolutionery not to excite the interest of engineering experts, and, moreover, the field is so sure and promising that it must attract the creative. The ironclad commenced its career in much about the
same way. It was just an old wooden hulk cased in the railway rails of the day. The Tank is merely an armoured plus-motor-lorry on caterpillar wheels, which were originally devised for agricultural purposes.
Here is an invention, due to an American electrician, Mr. Vern Pieper. He has devised a wonderful walking giant! At the present moment, he has completed only the model, but the real giant-a nine foot marvel of steel plates, knuckles, and cog wheels-is now in the process of being forged.
The movement in the feet and legs in the little model is so perfect that his steps appear natural; he may be stopped standing on the toe of one foot and the heel of the other, or in almost any natural position that would he assumed by a human being.
When fully grown King Grey-as the inventor calls him-will be 9 feet tall; his weight will be 750 pounds. His anatomical proportions will be: distance from hip joint to the ground, 4 feet 9 inches; distance from toe of boot to rear of vehicle, 21 feet; foot 16 inches long; 7 inches wide; step, 42 inches. The legs will be weighted with mercury to maintain a low centre of gravity.
The chief achievements of King Grey will be drawing a vehicle weighing over 1,500 pounds, containing four persons, any distance desired. That is the hope of the inventor, and the hope is not beyond the realms of possibility.
An intricate mechanism is required to direct the movements of the giant. Besides the two 40-horse power automobile type engines required as propulsive force, a small 2-horse-power engine will be used to govern an electrical nervous system. This small engine will operate a set of feather clutches, controlled by the movement of an electric plumb-bob in the giants head. The bob, moving in accordance with the slope of the ground will cause the giant to lean forward when ascending a hill and backwards when descending.
King Grey will be caused to turn corners by shortening the stroke of the inside leg and lengthening the stroke of the outside one.
He will be connected to the vehicle he draws by two steel shafts, 5 inches in diameter and 8 feet long, bolted to his body at the hips; his hands will rest on the ends of the shafts, and it will appear as if he were a live man of extraordinary size, pulling the vehicle after the manner of a horse hitched to a dog cart.
Four sledge-like runners will be mounted under the car, one at each wheel, and at the slightest sign of a mechanical derangement that might tend to cause a wreck, the runners will automatically drop to the ground and the wheels at the same instant, rise from the ground. The car, thus converted into a sledge, will act as an enormous break and bring the machine to an instant stop.
The nation, says Mr. Cracker, that could put into the field a legion of steel mechanical giants-filled with men armed with guns-charging down over the hills, smashing with their huge feet through the feebly obstructing barbed wire, leaping the trenches, and massacring the helpless defenders, would, especially if the thing could be done by surprise, demoralise, and even rout a whole army. Other scientific miracles have been frequent. Why, it is asked by our authority, may not such a monster as the Electrical Titan be part of the mechanical equiptment of the armies of the future ?– "Popular Science Siftings."

See all the known Steam Men and early Walking Machines here.

See all the known early Humanoid Robots here.


 

1980 – “Crater Scraper” Walking Beam Model – Peter Holland (British)

CraterScraper1PH l title x640 1980   Crater Scraper Walking Beam Model   Peter Holland (British)

The "Space Models" designed by Peter Holland, which appeared in the early Model Maker of the 'fifties onwards, were interesting applications of mechanical principles and some are still available today in the Model Maker Plans Service as constructional drawings. This, his latest, "Space Model" makes use of readily available gear and rack sets and there's a radio controlled version too [Ed. Included here]. . . Peter will describe them both.

This machine bears a faint external resemblance to my old M.A.P. Plans Service design "S.L.I.T.H.A.", a friction operated device using one of those dear old ever ready T.G.18 series of electric motors…..
The "Crater Scraper" is an earth levelling device or should I say "Moon" levelling?). It has a beam upon which a car travels, and which, upon reaching the far end, shoots the  beam forward ahead of itself again as seen in the sequence of Fig. 1. Unlike the "S.L.I.T.H.A.", this one has a retractable foot on the car, so that the whole unit is raised when shooting the scraper beam forward. Then raised when the car moves. This results in a form of "walking" action and is illustrated in Fig. 2.                                                

CraterScraper1PH l   Copy (3) x640 1980   Crater Scraper Walking Beam Model   Peter Holland (British)

Photo of the basic model.

CraterScraper1PH l movement x640 1980   Crater Scraper Walking Beam Model   Peter Holland (British)

Movement and operation of the basic model.

CraterScraper4PH l steering x640 1980   Crater Scraper Walking Beam Model   Peter Holland (British)

The steering motions on the upgraded radio-control model.


Pdf giving complete published instructions CraterScraper1PH l x160 1980   Crater Scraper Walking Beam Model   Peter Holland (British)

Thanks to David Buckley in providing the material and idea for this post.

For other Walking models by W. Peter Holland, see my other posts here.


For a similar concept, see Prof. Katsyu's Walking-beam model and Peter Holland's CABER.