Posts Tagged ‘1936’

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

Aizawa's Remote Controlled Train (Popular Mechanics, Nov, 1936) article was popularised in . 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!

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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1936 – The Gyro-Cycle – Hubert Charles Henry Townend (British)

The Gyro-Cycle – A pseudo-pedalling machine.

Source: "Mechanical Toys" by Athelstan & Kathleen Spilhaus, 1990

First Meccano Magazine advertisement was in April 1938.

A very ingenious scientific toy. Toy was invented by a famous airplane designer in England. Action depends on the well known gyroscopic principle. The front wheel is the gyroscope and drives the unit through a set of precision gears. When the front wheel is spun, at high speed, the stored energy will drive the cycle for a considerable distance in an upright position. The boy on the bike peddles in a very realistic effect by the turning of the rear wheel. The wheels are lithographed tin, the frame is pressed steel and cyclist is celluloid with cloth arms. The cyclist is driven by a rubber band from the rear wheel. Rubber band is still intact but dry from age. Manufacture is Tri-Ang Works of London, England in the 1950s. Size is 8¼” long by 7½” tall and 2½” wide. Toy is in mint condition, never played with. Included are the instruction sheet, bottle of lubricating Shell oil and the instruction sheet of how to maintain the toy. Original pull string is also in the box.

A new, never used  example.

Tri-Ang Lines Bros. Gyro-tricycle – interesting conversion from the Gyro-cycle comprising green celluloid figure, red pressed steel cycle frame with 3 x tinprinted balloon wheels.

Hubert Charles Henry Townend  was an inventor in the aerospace industry. His known patents were in relation to cooling of air-cooled 4-stroke aircraft engines, mainly rotary aircraft engines. His inventions are: 

1. Improvements in or relating to means for the balancing and controlling of toy bicycles. Hubert Charles Henry Townend Jan, 31 1938: GB479430 . Application date was 29 July, 1936. Note: First Meccano Magazine advertisement wasn't until April 1938, soon after the patent was officially accepted.
2. Improvements in and relating to air cooled aero engines with a view to securing an improved cooling effect. Hubert Charles Henry Townend Nov, 13 1936: GB456819
3. Improvements in or relating to aircraft. Hubert Charles Henry Townend Oct, 10 1929: GB320131

Meccano version of Gyro-cycle

(add credits here when known)

1936 – “Robie” the Radio-Controlled Robot – Arthur Wilson (American)

Caption: Here is "Robie," the amazing radio controlled mechanical man that can do practically everything but think. He is the brain child of Arthur Wilson of Chicago, Illinois.

Modern Mechanix December 1936

Mechanical Wonder Man Is Operated By Radio Control

"Robie," a mechanical robot walks, talks, smokes and winks his eyes when electrical impulses are transmitted to his "radio" brain. The unusual animated character is the work of Arthur Wilson, of Chicago, Illinois. More than a year's work and the assistance of three men were required to perfect the robot which is constructed of sheet metal and wood.
The interior of the mechanical man is a maze of electrical apparatus which is used in providing speech and motion. A special receiver picks up the shortwave impulses sent out by his remote controlled mind, station W9X10, to provide animation.

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1936-37 – B2M – (ROM or V2M) – Vadim Matskevich (Russian)

ROM (or V2M) as it appeared in the 1937 Paris Exhibition. Possibly the first Russian Humanoid Robot ever built. [Note: I haven't quite worked out the Russian <-> English translation of this Robots names as yet.]

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Vadim Viktorovich Matskevich turned 82 years old [in 2002] .  As well as writing many children's books on technology, Matskevich build several other robots which will appear later in this blog.

Вадим Викторович Мацкевич  – Vadim Viktorovich Matskevich – Ph.D. In 1936 the first Russian robot which, in 1937, was shown at the Paris exhibition.

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1936 – Mechanical Man – Dept. of Labour (American)

Mechanical Man Exhibit 
Original caption: the American Negro Exposition, being held in Chicago's Coliseum, is a regular World's Fair for the people of the Negro race, who have crowded the large halls with exhibits on religion, music, sports, science, industry, art, and the stage. Maudelle Bousfield, of Chicago, and Samuel Evans are shown viewing the mechanical man exhibit in the science department.

The Mechanical Man – Dept. of Labor – Federal Building.

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