1954-65 – “Mr. Robotham” – Peter Holland – (British)


A pdf containing the 1955 and the 1965 versions is available here.

The larger version is descibed in the December 1965 issue  of Radio Control Models and Electronics, but in Radio-controlled form. It was built much earlier. Here's the introduction to that 1965 issue:

Meet The Robotham Family
READERS interest in the ambulatory field may  have been aroused by the article on "Rainbow" which appeared in our December 1961 issue. This little chap, it will be remembered, is propelled by a motorised trolly and no balance problems were present. The more sophisticated "Kunibert" appeared in May 1965 issue. The Robotham family was developed from the author's original Mr. Robotham mid. 1958* (see December 1958* Model Maker) and took several different forms and sizes.
Radio control was an addition rather than a primary consideration. The first robot to receive "the treatment" was a 4 ft. high twice size version of the original gentleman who appeared as M.M. Plans Service No. MM406. All versions operate on the same principle of parallelogram leg linkage and automatically switched, motorised feet; the "Free running" arrangement employs an automatic switch system which starts and stops the foot motors alternately. This switching is controlled by the angle of the legs so that when the right foot moves forward to maximum -stride" the power is switched to the left foot which proceeds in the same manner. Fig. 1.
The early robots were simple walking machines and no more, the eyes flashed in time with the leg movement, but apart from this they were devoid of any special mechanisms. In fact, a pair of legs alone with no other form of "superstructure" have been seen striding or shuffeling around the workshop. A request to put the large version on films and television instigated the application of radio control for walking, steering and triggering a hand writing mechanism. This latter piece of gimmickry was developed for the purpose of signing robotic autographs at the Schoolboys Exhibition. We will deal with the various control functions separately……

*-David Buckley suspects the published date in the article is incorrect, and should be 1955.

The December 1965 version contains the description of the writing hand. To simplify the writing cams deployed, "Mr. Robotham" became "Rob". see pdf above for plans.

Note: David Buckley suspects the hand was built much earlier, probably for the 1956 Schoolboy Exhibition, although the plans did appear in the Dec 1965 issue.

Sourced from Science & Society, Schoolboys with robot, 29 December 1955.    ‘London schoolboys interested in, and perhaps a little quizzical about, a wonderful model spaceman robot, 'Mr Robotham', which really walks. It will be seen at the Schoolboys' Own Exhibition, opening at the Royal Horticultural Hall, Westminster, London.'

Both the smaller 1955 version and the later 1965 version are seen in this movie still.


The clip is dated 1948 which confuses me somewhat. i.e.  the clip is in colour, which indicates a later time, and more significant is that the larger robot is present.

Peter was still building robots many years later. See "Mr. Robotham the Great" from 1980 here and CRAB here

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