1936 – Robot Remote Controlled Train – Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

Aizawa's Remote Controlled Train (Popular Mechanics, Nov, 1936) article was popularised in blog.modernmechanix.com . Sadly, Jiro Aizawa was not named as the inventor in the article.

Robot Engine Built in Japan Is Driven by Remote Control

Automatic train control is understood to be a feature of a mysterious robot locomotive model built in Japan. Streamlined, but of a design unlike any conventional locomotive, the details of its mechanism have not been revealed. It is believed, however, that it will be operated electrically by remote control and will be equipped with a braking mechanism which will stop it automatically if the rails ahead become dangerous.

How do I know it's Jiro Aizawa? Well, coincidentally I recently acquired a book by Aizawa (in Japanese) with pictures of this train. Further, I have another press-released image and caption that gives a little more description, such as his name!

DEVELOPED ROBOT ENGINE IN JAPAN – Aug/12/1936.
Mysterious robot engine has been developed in Japan by Jiro Aizawa. Shown above with model of engine. Complete details are not given but it is believed the engine will be driven by remote control and will have a special device to stop the engine should something happen to the rails.

Not easily noticed in the Popular Mechanics image (above-top) is the robot driver of the train, seen here from the Press image.


Other train images from Aizawa's book. Note that I am unable to translate the captions for the photos.

Another remote controlled train also see in image on page <3> above.

Train bogie in Aizawa's workshop along with some of his early robots.


Although Aizawa's train looks like an anthropomorphised armadillo by todays standards, it is contemporary with other streamlined trains popularised by designers such as Henry Dreyfuss and his "Mercury" Streamliners, 


Aizawa was also responsible for the robotized "Monkey Train" at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo, but I'll write more on that in a later post. See here.

See all the known early Humanoid Robots including Aizawa's Robots here.


 

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