Posts Tagged ‘French’

1820 – Prosopographus, the Automaton Artist – Charles Hervé



Selected extract from the full post by Patrick Feaster here.

Between 1820 and 1835, a machine was exhibited around Great Britain that was advertised as taking people’s portraits by strictly automatic means.  Someone had only to pay a shilling and sit perfectly still next to it for the space of a minute to obtain a likeness alleged to be more accurate than anything a living artist could have drawn.  The machine relied on principles very different from those of photography, first introduced to the world via the daguerreotype in 1839, and its portraits didn’t anticipate the photographic portraits of later years in any technical sense.  However, they did anticipate them quite closely in a cultural sense.  As far as subjects were concerned, they might have gone to get their pictures taken by this machine in 1825, and again by a photographic camera in 1845, without perceiving any fundamental difference between the two experiences.  In both cases, they would have been told that their likenesses were being captured automatically, without the mediation of a human observer, although they might still have paid extra for someone to touch up the results afterwards or add color to them.  The earlier machine went by the name of “Prosopographus, the Automaton Artist,” and it produced silhouettes—thousands upon thousands of them, if reports from the time are to be believed.  I was recently fortunate enough to acquire one, which is what prompted me to pull together the following account.


In appearance, Prosopographus was a miniature android figure dressed in fancy Spanish costume, shown above as illustrated on a period handbill.  I’ll refer to it here myself as “it,” but contemporaries generally anthropomorphized it as “him,” consistent with the grammatical gender of its Greco-Latinate name: Prosopo- (“face”) -graph- (“writer”) –us (second declension nominative masculine ending).  It held a pencil in its hand, and when someone sat down next to it, it would use this pencil—within full view of spectators—to trace an outline of the person’s profile.  The process was described variously as taking less than a minute, half a minute, or less than half a minute, but subjects had to hold perfectly still during that time: “The least movement on the part of the sitter will occasion the Automaton to shake his head, and the operation of taking the outline to be recommenced.  Advertisements emphasized that this work was carried out “without even touching the Face, and indeed “without touching, or having the slightest communication with the Person.  Daylight wasn’t necessary either, patrons were assured, so that likenesses could continue to be taken after sunset.  The proprietor never revealed the specific process used to capture people’s profiles, but it was claimed to be wholly mechanical, and hence superhuman in its accuracy.  Thus, Prosopographus was billed as “performing more perfect resemblances than is in the power of any living hand to trace,  and as “so contrived that by means of mechanism it is enabled to trace a more accurate and pleasing resemblance of any face that may be presented than could be produced through the agency of any LIVING artist whatever.

The basic portrait to which every visitor was entitled by default seems to have consisted of the profile painted in black, and some later advertisements specified that this included glass and a frame.  For a surcharge, however, the profiles could also be cut out, shaded, bronzed, or done up in full color, as well as mounted in a fancier frame, at prices up to thirty guineas if anyone cared to pay that much. The result, in any case, was something visually indistinguishable from a conventional silhouette portrait of the period.

And that complicates our present ability to identify surviving specimens of Prosopographus’s work.  According to Profiles of the Past, a website dedicated to the history of British silhouette portraiture, “very few silhouettes [by Prosopographus] are known today,” even though countless thousands are said to have been taken.  Technically, however, what’s rare is a silhouette that can be attributed to Prosopographus because it’s labeled that way on the back.  The few reported types of Prosopographus trade label are linked to just a few exhibition venues, so it may be that silhouettes taken in other places weren’t labeled, making them impossible to tell apart from “ordinary” silhouettes.  For all we know, nearly all unlabeled silhouettes of the 1820s and 1830s might be the work of Prosopographus, which would make them extremely common.  However, it’s only when there’s a label that we know for sure what we have.


The Prosopographus portrait I recently acquired is one of those with the Halifax trade label and promotional text on the back, augmented by a handwritten inscription identifying its subject as Ellen Waterhouse.  The silhouette itself is a likeness of the basic type that was thrown in free with the price of admission: the profile painted in black, with just a few embellishments added in the same color to represent hair and veil.

See the full post by Patrick Feaster here.

See other early Robots in Art and Drawing Machines here.

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1976 – MOB-1002 Submersible – (French)

french-mob-1002-2-x640MOB 1002 (Manipulation & Observation Bell 1002), built by Comex Industries, France, is a specially designed bell for underwater work. It has one manipulator with 6 degrees and one with 2 degrees of movement. It is also fitted with a lifting winch capable of lifting loads with a weight in water of up to 300 kg. MOB 1002 has done drilling support work in 960 m water depths.


Schematic of MOB-1002.


See other early Underwater Robots here.

1961 – Archimede Bathyscaphe – Pierre Willm and Georges Houot (French)


Manipulator is shown 6:50 into video clip.





Archimède bathyscaphe.
Some pics by Alain Houot. Text souce: Wiki
The bathyscaphe Archimède is a deep diving research submersible of the French Navy. It used 42,000 US gallons (160,000 l) of hexane as the gasoline buoyancy of its float. It was designed by Pierre Willm and Georges Houot. Archimede was the first vehicle to reach the deepest part of the Atlantic, 27,510 feet (8,390 m) down into the Puerto Rico Trench.

Archimede was christened on 27 July 1961, at the French Navy base of Toulon. It was designed to go beyond 30,000 yards (27,000 m), and weighed 61 tons.

In October 1961, Archimede passed its first dive tests, diving to 5,000 feet (1,500 m) unmanned.

See other early Underwater Robots here.

Early Fictional Underwater Robots and Underwater Manipulators





"LE TRESOR DANS L'ABIME" par Jean de LA HIRE –  Edition ORIGINALE datée de 1907


1907 – "Le Fulgur"





« Le Fulgur »

– « Le Fulgur » Publication en épisode dans la revue « Le Globe Trotter » du Jeudi 21 Mars 1907, N° 268 au Jeudi 15 Aout 1907 ; N° 289. Illustré par Clérice.
– « Le Fulgur » Librairie E.Flammarion.Grand in 8° cartonné polychrome. Illustré par Marin Baldo. Probablement publié en 1910.

1929 – The Mysterious Island


No, not a Fem-bot, but Jacqueline Gadsden as Sonia Dakkar (credited as Jane Daly) being prepared for a scene in The Mysterious Island. The technician being a bit heavy-handed, I think!

On a volcanic island near the kingdom of Hetvia rules Count Dakkar, a benevolent leader and scientist who has eliminated class distinction among the island's inhabitants. Dakkar, his daughter Sonia and her fiance, engineer Nicolai Roget have designed a submarine which Roget pilots on its initial voyage just before the island is overrun by Baron Falon, despotic ruler of Hetvia. Falon sets out after Roget in a second submarine and the two craft, diving to the ocean's floor, discover a strange land populated by dragons, giant squid and an eerie undiscovered humanoid race.



Artist's [Montfort Amory] depiction of Salvage tank. Really a cross between Bowdoin's Armoured Suit and the Diving Bell. Source: The Ogden Standard Examiner, Feb 21, 1932.



Le Tunnel de Gibraltar by Colonel ROYET, Illustration de Maurice TOUSSAINT
TALLANDIER, coll. Le Livre national – Bibliothèque des grandes aventures n° 494, 1933

1933 – In the City Beneath the Sea (08/21/1933 – 06/30/1934) 270 strips

brick-bradford-w-ritt-c-gray-1933-x640 brick-bradford-ocean-gray-1933-x640

Brick Bradford from Wikipedia.

Brick Bradford was a science fiction comic strip created by writer William Ritt, a journalist based in Cleveland, and artist Clarence Gray. It was first distributed in 1933 by Central Press Association, a subsidiary of King Features Syndicate which specialized in producing material for small-town newspapers.

Ritt grew tired of Brick Bradford in the mid-1940s, and by 1948 he had turned over first the daily and then the Sunday to Gray, who did the strip by himself until his health problems increased. In 1952, Paul Norris (who had been working on King's Jungle Jim) took over the daily. When Gray died in 1956, Norris took over the Sunday strip. Norris retired in 1987, and the strip was retired as well with the daily ending April 25, 1987 and the Sundays two weeks later.

"Brick Bradford" achieved its greatest popularity outside the United States. "Brick Bradford" was carried by both newspapers and comic books in Australia and New Zealand. In France, the strip was known as "Luc Bradefer" (Luke Ironarm), and was published in many newspapers. The strip was also widely published in Italy.

1943 – Underwater Walking Robot

VECKANS AVENTYR #34 Swedish Pulp/Comic 1943 


VECKANS AVENTYR was a long-running Swedish science fiction/comics/pulp magazine originally titled JULES VERNE MAGASINET, published from 1940-47. The magazine features reprints of American pulps and comics. The comics were limited to a few b/w pages at the back of each issue, and color inside front, inside back, and back covers.

1949 – Mysta of the Moon – Undersea mechanical monster. Planet Comics.




Figli Dell'Abisso di BRYCE WALTON – 1952

 Figli dell'abisso, tr. Eugenio Crescini, ill. [Aster] E2 [SF] Sons of the Ocean Deeps, Winston, Philadelphia # 9, 1952

Copertina di Carlo Jacono
Jon West, un giovane, brillante cadetto, figlio di una ricca famiglia americana, aspira a far parte dell'eletta schiera degli Astronauti, gli eroi delle Nazioni Unite dell'anno 2039. Jon vuole la notorietà, la gloria personale, la bella divisa scarlatta… e il dover rinunciare a tutto questo per cause indipendenti dalla sua volontà, fa di lui un uomo insofferente, ammalato di autocommiserazione. Andrà nel Servizio Abissale, quasi per nascondersi, forse per farla finita. Ma laggiù, tra pericoli spaventosi come la pressione dell'acqua, tra mostri orripilanti e crudeli come il "divoratore nero", troverà nelle incredibili città sottomarine, anche altri uomini. Uomini come Yeager, l'amico per eccellenza, come Clarence, il debole orfano perseguitato, dall'anima di poeta, come il vecchio Sam, esploratore spericolato ed esperto, come il Comandante Moxson, ferreo ed umano, come l'esasperato Sprague che vive nel ricordo di un amato padre ucciso dal mare per colpa degli uomini. A contatto di queste vite dedicate al Servizio per amore del mare, il grande fascinatore, troverà l'animo generoso di Jon il suo equilibrio? Sfondo a questa vicenda umana e toccante è il mare, principio di ogni vita, con le sue creature terribili ed ingannatrici, con le sue perle ed i suoi fiori, con le sue luci di sogno e la sua oscurità paurosa. Il mare, fonte inesauribile di ogni tesoro, dominato dall'uomo, dal suo coraggio, dalla sua intelligenza, dalla sua ricerca scientifica sempre più profonda, dalle sue macchine.

Jon West, a brilliant young cadet, son of a wealthy American family, aspires to join the ranks of the elect Astronauts, the heroes of the United Nations of the year 2039. Jon wants fame, personal glory, the beautiful scarlet uniform … and having to give up all this for reasons beyond his control, he makes him a man impatient, sick of self-pity. It will go into service Abyssal, almost hiding, perhaps to call it quits. But over there, between the dangers scary as the water pressure, including horrifying monsters and cruel as the "devouring black", will find the amazing underwater cities, even other men. Men like Yeager, friend par excellence, as Clarence, the weak orphan persecuted, by the soul of a poet, like the old Sam, reckless explorer and expert, as the Commander Moxson, iron and human, as the exasperated Sprague living in memory of a beloved father killed by sea because of men. A contact of these lives dedicated to the service of love for the sea, the great charmer, will find the generous spirit of Jon his balance? Background to this human and touching is the sea, source of all life, with its fearsome creatures and deceptive, with her pearls and her flowers, with its lights dream and his scary darkness. The sea, endless source of each treasure, dominated by man, by his courage, by his intelligence, by his scientific research deepening, its machines.


1954 – Diving-Tents of Captain Space Kingley


"The Adventures of Captain Space Kingley" , Samson Low , Marston & Co Ltd, London, England. Issued 1954, Written by Ray Sonin with illustrations by R.W. Jobson.

A 126 page Hardback with a great Space Rocket & Astronauts Themed Front Cover! Following the introduction to the hero are six short story missions with titles including 'The rings of Saturn' , 'The mechanical animals of Mars ' and 'The submarine city'. All six stories are supported by some fantastic black/white Sci-Fi illustrations.

1954 – « Belzébuth » par Jean de la Hire. Tome 1. Éditions D'Hauteville « Les grandes aventures du Nyctalope » N°12. 1954.


1954 – The Tom Swift Fat Man Diving Suit



1966 – Tom Swift "Geotron" with Fat Man suits


1964 – Tom Swift and His Aquatomic Tracker

The Fat Man Diving Suit was first illustrated in 1958 in the book Tom Swift and his Deep-Sea Hydrodome, but originated in 1954. Tom Swift and his Jetmarine was the first to feature the Fat Man suits.
What about the Fat Man suits? Tom Swift's father wanted Tom to invent a way to escape from the Jetmarine in case something went wrong. Tom Swift complied by creating his Fat Man suits, which he uses over and over and over again in other books.

Basically, the Fat Man suits were just like miniature, one-man submarines, except they were equipped with arms and legs to enable great maneuverability and dexterity. (For a picture, see the cover of Tom Swift and his Deep-Sea Hydrodome) These miniature subs were completely equipped: they had a recyclable oxygen supply, a propulsion system, and a ballast system. Tom got a great deal of use out of these creatures, mainly for retrieving underwater objects or underwater construction.

Some passages from the book on the Fat Men:

Tom smiled. "I've been working on that as a secret project. Bud has dubbed the suit the Fat Man."

Tom briefly outlined the principal features of the metal Fat Man. The body of it was egg-shaped and was five feet in diameter at the center. Inside an operator's seat had been build, surrounded by a number of instruments. There was also a quartz vision plate. This window would serve as entrance to the Fat Man.

Tom pointed out that the suit was propelled by air pressure and was equipped with small ballast tanks, which would enable it to be manipulated like a tiny submarine. Two such Fat Men were to be installed in the Jetmarine next to the decompression chamber, which had been designed to be opened either from the inside or the outside.

Mr. Swift listened intently as Tom continued, "But my main innovation, Dad, consists of the Fat Man's pantograph arms and legs. Hands and feet, too. I work them on button controls from inside. They're almost human."

The elder inventor raised his eyebrows. "How do you keep this gimmick from falling over?"

"Gyroscope!" Tom replied. "An automatic balancing brain."

"The lithium hydroxide," said Baker, "is taking care of what the boys are exhaling. And that excellent gadget by which Tom is getting oxygen from the water is a great invention, harder to perfect than the sub itself. If anything should happen to the Jetmarine, they would be able to live in the suits a long time."


The Underwater Robot was a TV Comic story featuring the First Doctor, John and Gillian.


Beneath a deep ocean, the time-travellers are brought aboard a giant, walking robot. The robot is, in truth, a pirate-operated craft used by two insane inventors to plunder surface ships of their wealth. The First Doctor fights to free the slaves aboard the robots, and to overthrow its sinister operators.

1968 – For Men Only (December) – I Found Columbia's Underwater City of Gold. Illustrated by Bruce Minney.


1968 –> Klaus Bürgle Illustrations



See more Klaus Bürgle illustrations here.

1964-9 Japanese Sci-Fi Illustrations


1964c. Undersea mining vehicle. Illustration possibly by Ten-an Ito.


Submarine rescue vehicle c1969.


Undersea legged mining vehicle c1969.


Not undersea, but intravenous! A cross between a JIM Suit and 2001: A Space Odyssey Pod arms. Image by Teruya Yamamoto, I believe. c1969.




Приключения Алисы. Том 5. Гай-до – Alice's Adventures, 1992
Кир Булычев (Игорь Можейко)  writer Kir Bulychev (Igor Mozheyko )




See other real early Underwater Robots here.

1958 – RUM – Remote Underwater Manipulator – Victor Anderson (American)


RUM – Remote Underwater Manipulator

Press Release: U.S. Navy reveals new remote control vehicle for exploring ocean bottom.: A unique remote control undersea vehicle for exploring and conducting scientific studies of the ocean bottom for prolonged periods at great depths has been developed for the Office of Naval Research. The new vehicle was demonstrated for the Press off the shore of La Jolla, California, May 16. 1960. The vehicle is essentially a tank equipped with a long jointed manipulator arm and hand together with specially devised underwater television cameras which serve as the eyes of the vehicle's operator on shore. The development of the Remote Underwater Manipulator was directed by Dr. Victor Anderson of the Marine Physical laboratory of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California at La Jolla for use in co-operation with the Hudson Laboratory of Columbia University. The goal of the Navy R.U.M. developments is to have available a vehicle capable of performing controlled work functions is oceanographic research. This includes observation of the sea floor, the collection of samples and specimens and the assembly and installation of deep bottom-mounted instrumentation in the ocean. R.U.M. (Remote Underwater Manipulator) can operate at depths down to 20,000 feet, maintained a speed of 3 miles per hour where level bottom soil conditions permit. It can manoeuvre and operate on grades of 60 percent and is capable of climbing a vertical obstacle 12 inches in height. It is seen here returning from ocean floor during tests.

Source: SIO Reference 60-26
Victor C. Anderson, University of California, La Jolla Marine Physical Laboratory of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography San Diego 52, California
An experimental Remote Underwater Manipulator constructed at the Marine Physical Laboratory is described. Features of the design which permit operation at deep submergence in the ocean over 5 miles of small coaxial cable are discussed. Pertinent electronic circuits are shown and their general operation outlined.
In November of 1958 the Marine Physical Laboratory undertook the construction of an experimental Remote Underwater Manipulator (RUM) as a part of a task, under Contract Nonr 2216 with the Office of Naval Research. It was felt that by the adoption of a suitable design philosophy such a device, capable of operating at great depths, could be built utilizing, to a large extent, standard commercial components. Operating from a fixed installation over a length of several miles of control cable, the RUM would permit a significant increase in underwater installation work capability and a reduction of the required complexity of bottom-mounted oceanographic instrumentation.
The first tests of the MPL RUM were carried out in the San Diego Bay in May of 1959. The first ocean test was made on 5 May 1960.
This initial report covers the RUM design and construction in a manner which will outline the problems arising during its construction and describe their solution as well as present the philosophy followed in the design.






The manipulator for the MPL RUM was obtained from General Mills as a complete assembly ready for installation in the rear compartment. As may be seen in Figure 20 it consists of a model 500 manipulator arm mounted on the end of an articulating boom which has three degrees of freedom: base rotation, lower boom elevation and elbow elevation between lower and upper boom. The manipulator itself has the standard set of 5 motions: shoulder rotation, shoulder pivot, elbow pivot, wrist rotate and hand grip. These functions, combined with power on-off, fast-slow and forward-reverse control, require 18 of the off-on control channels. The manipulator capabilities are as follows:
Gross lifting capability with hook . . .     1500 lbs at 10 ft
Maximum outreach . . .                        15 ft
Manipulator lifting capability . . .            500 lbs
Wrist torque . . .                                  100 ft -lbs
Hand closing force . . .                         100 lbs
The manipulator arm itself is powered by dc motors while the boom operates from a hydraulic system position servo-coupled to dc control motors.
Hull Construction
The MPL RUM has been built on the basic hull and track assembly of an M-50 self-propelled rifle or "Ontos," provided for this purpose. The Ontos was stripped and reworked to provide four compartments as shown in Figure 9 above.







Interesting in the above artist's conception is the adaption of a helicopter device to allow RUM to swim over rough spots.

Source: Popular Mechanics, December 1960.



Underwater robot to explore ocean floor
Console has controls and four TV screens.
Control van is linked to RUM by cable.

The Navy has added a robot hand, sonar, and four television cameras to a rebuilt Marine tank. RUM—for Remote Underwater Manipulator—is a sort of poor man's Solaris [PS, July]. Cost of the project: $250,000. The interior of the tank has been sealed against water and filled with oil in which two 71/2-hp. electric motors run immersed: one to move each of the two tracks.
The vehicle is linked to a mobile van on shore by a coaxial cable long enough to permit operation five miles out and 20,000 feet under the sea. The cable carries power to the motors, TV cameras, mercury-vapor lamps that light the deeps for the cameras, telemetering channels, and a mechanical hand that can pick up objects ranging from a piece of kelp to a forecastle section.
Designs exist for a similar vehicle of aluminum. Future RUMs would weigh several thousand pounds less, says the Navy, and would be more reliable. Source: Popular Science, Aug, 1960.



The Remote Underwater Manipulator (RUM) was first intended to work alone, crawling about on the sea floor at depths down to 6,000 meters to gather objects and samples, to take photographs, and to install deep-sea instruments. Victor C. Anderson began assembling it in 1958, starting with a Marine Corps self-propelled rifle carrier; to this he added a boom and a steel claw that could be pivoted in any direction out to about five meters to pick up objects. The gasoline engine was replaced with a pair of heavy electric motors in an oil-filled compartment. Sonar was installed, and a powerful light and four television cameras for sea-floor surveillance from a portable shore station (actually a bus). Power for RUM and sensor signals were provided by way of a coaxial cable 8,000 meters long. Early tests in shallow water were only moderately successful, and RUM was set aside for other projects. Source: here.



Selection of 15 images of RUM from University of Southern California. Libraries.

Title:     Remote underwater manipulation test (United States Navy), 1960-05-16.
Description:   Remote underwater manipulation test (United States Navy). May 16 1960. Howard Humphrey; Howard McQueen; Doctor Victor Anderson (project director); Bill Clay.; Caption slip reads: "Photographer: Snow. Date: 1960-05-16. Reporter: Henley. Assignment: RUM. Series of pictures of RUM going out to sea until it is completely submerged. Arm of RUM in sand after it broke down. Howard Humphrey and Howard McQueen, with hat, putting on arm in control van. Dr. Victor Anderson, project director; Bill Clay, closest to camera. Dr. Victor Anderson standing beside RUM on beach".
Photographer:     Snow






Selected images of RUM from Time-Life Collection. Photographer is Ralph Crane. 1960.


Dr. Victor Anderson.

A view of the Navy's remote underwater m





ORB and RUM are a pair of MPL vehicles that often work as a team. By December 1967, ORB (Ocean Research Buoy) had been developed as a platform for suspending equipment and particularly as a service vehicle for RUM. ORB is a barge 45 feet by 65 feet with a large center well through which the ten-ton RUM is operated by means of a constant-tension winch. It has two laboratories, a galley and messhall, and sleeping quarters for twelve people. “Loading RUM is a somewhat unconventional operation,” its designers wrote. “RUM is first lowered to the bottom of the bay by a crane. Then ORB is moved to a position over RUM, divers attach the strain cable, and RUM is lifted up through the well doors.” Unconventional or not, it does work. RUM has been used for taking cores at depths down to 1,900 meters, for measurements of sediment properties in place, for underwater photography, for recovering equipment at depths down to 1,260 meters, and for sampling deep-sea biological communities. It has the advantage of being able to stay on the sea floor at work much longer than manned submersibles. On one of its earliest sea trials, in 1970, RUM placed two small sonar reflectors on the sea floor, crawled away from them, and returned to find and retrieve them. It also found a third sea-floor object:  … a can of a well-known brand of stewed tomatoes. … The can was found to be the dwelling of a small and very frightened octopus. We feel [said RUM’s inventors] that this is one of the first times that a mobile biological specimen has been selectively retrieved by a remotely controlled manipulator as well as record of the first sea-going anti-pollution effort by such a unit.

See 25:55 into clip.

Anderson also developed the Benthic Laboratory, first used as a communications center for Sealab II in 1965. The laboratory housed electronic equipment. Source: here.


RUM (Remote Underwater Manipulator) – This series of seafloor work vehicles included RUM II, a remotely controlled, tracked vehicle which was developed under the sponsorship of the Office of Naval Research at the Marine Physical Laboratory for use as a research tool in sea floor technology experiments, and to establish design criteria for future sea floor technology systems. RUM III, which combines seafloor search and work capabilities, is in the development phase.
RUM II provided detailed information on vehicle trafficability, remote manipulation, navigation, cable telemetry systems, effect of ambient pressure on electronics, and environmental and mechanical design considerations. Design depth for the vehicle is 2,400 meters. Extensive operations have been carried out in a variety of locations of diverse bottom characteristics within 120 km radius from San Diego. Depth of operations has ranged from 30 to 1800 meters. Operational tasks carried out on the sea floor have included search and recovery, implantment of instruments, biological studies, vehicle trafficability studies, navigation exercises, collection of samples, and the measurement of the engineering properties of sea floor sediments. During operations, RUM was launched through the well on ORB and lowered to the sea floor. A pair of divers were used in the launch and recovery of the vehicle to connect and disconnect snubbing cables. Electrical power, telemetry for control and instrumentation, and signals for sonar, navigation aids and television were transmitted over the single coaxial umbilical cable connecting the RUM to ORB.
The vehicle was propelled by two independently controlled reversible 15.6 KW direct current motors, one driving each track. Other equipment included three television cameras, ten 500-watt quartz iodide lights, two 600-watt mercury vapor lights, color movie and still cameras, an obstacle avoidance scanning sonar with a 25-meter range, a high resolution search sonar with a 200-meter range, up- and down-looking depth sounders, a magnetic compass, listening hydrophones, acoustic transponder navigation system and a manipulator capable of exerting 22 kg of force in any direction.

rum-2-Deep-Sea Sediments-x640

rum-3-Deep-Sea Sediments-x640

rum-4-Deep-Sea Sediments-x640

ORB (Oceanographic Research Buoy) – ORB, a 21 x 14 meter rectangular shaped vessel displacing approximately 330 tons, was developed by the Marine Physical Laboratory to serve projects at the laboratory which require the launch, retrieval, implantation or handling of large equipment or systems in the open ocean. In contrast to FLIP, ORB is designed to follow the sea surface as closely as possible, in order to simplify the task of placing and retrieving large objects in the ocean. The vessel has a center well of 9- by 6-meter area which can be opened to permit the lowering of equipment through it, using a cable-tensioning system to minimize vertical motions. The well doors when closed provide a dry work space and will safely support a weight of 12,000 kg. Loads up to 12 tons can be lowered to a maximum depth of 2,000 meters. ORB is 8 meters high from keel to upper deck. It has no means of self propulsion and must be towed to and from operating areas. In addition to laboratory work spaces and machinery space, ORB is equipped with complete living facilities for 20 people including five crew members.
ORB, during her first ten years of operation in support of over a dozen different projects, has been moored at over 20 sites ranging up to 400 km off the southern California coast and at depths from 30 to over 4,000 meters.

There is a RUM III but I have no image of it.


Publication number    US3168261
Publication date    2 Feb 1965
Filing date    29 Mar 1963
Inventor:    William H. Hainer
Original Assignee    General Mills Inc

This invention relates to a cable winding mechanism, and more particularly to an apparatus for use on a remotely controlled vehicle, such as an underwater reconnaissance vehicle, to automatically reel in or pay out a control or power cable for the vehicle as it travels a course.

It is a general object of the present invention to provide such a cable winding mechanism which is relatively simple and compact, which performs reliably, which, when reeling cable in, properly winds the cable in even multiple layers upon a spool or drum, and, when paying out cable, properly dispenses the cable from said drum, and which, in reeling in and paying out cable, does so independently of the travel of the vehicle, by making the winding action of the drum responsive to tension on the cable.

In conjunction with this above-mentioned object is the further object of providing such a cable winding mechanism especially adapted for use in a remotely controlled underwater reconnaissance vehicle that is designed to travel over rough terrain of the ocean floor at relatively great depths (i.e. 500 feet or more) and be able to follow a relatively complex course over such terrain.

It is believed a clearer understanding of the apparatus to which the present invention relates, and of the problems which the invention purports to alleviate will be obtained by first describing briefly an underwater vehicle of the type for which the present invention is especially adapted and the problems in its operation.

Such a vehicle has a chassis which rests on a pair of tracks by which the vehicle is able to propel itself along the ocean floor. Pivotally connected to the chassis are a set of upstanding struts the upper ends :of which are pivotally connected to a set of tanks which impart a lifting or buoying force to the vehicle. By properly moving these tanks by means of the supporting struts, the vehicles center of buoyancy is placed over its center of gravity, and the entire vehicle is better able to be stabilized [on its tracks so that it can travel over steeply sloped surfaces. Also, both the chassis and the tanks are provided with propellers to power the vehicle above the ocean floor, submarine fashion, in the event that it is desired to pass over a crevasse or other obstacle.

The vehicle is both controlled and powered electrically, this being accomplished by an electric cable leading from the vehicle to a suitable power and control source, such as a surface ship or possibly a shore station. While the vehicle, during a reconnaissance mission, may be following a maze-like course over the ocean floor, the cable will sometimes slide sideways over the ocean floor or become snagged on obstructions or vegetation. Since the cable has a total length of perhaps five miles, it may become strung out over the ocean floor along a rather unpredictable and complex path, quite different from that which the vehicle has travelled. Thus, there arise particular problems in reeling in the cable under these conditions, among such problems being that of guarding against the vehicle itself cutting across and severing the cable. it is for effective operations under conditions such as these that my invention purports to provide a practical cable winding apparatus.

The General Mills Model 150 Manipulator Arm


The General Mills' Model 150 Manipulator. See also General Mills technology described here.


Harold "Bud" Froehlich

The dream of building a manned deep ocean research submersible first started to move toward reality on February 29, 1956. Allyn Vine of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) attended a symposium in Washington, where participants drafted a resolution that the U.S. develop a national program for manned undersea vehicles. From this beginning the community eventually obtained the Trieste bathyscaphe, but it was quite large and not very maneuverable – a better craft was needed.

In 1960, Charles Momsen, head of the Office of Naval Research (ONR), petitioned for scientists to rent a submersible with ONR funds, and found WHOI investigators interested. In the spring of 1962, after unsuccessful negotiations with various submersible builders to rent a sub, Vine and others at Woods Hole went and requested bids to buy a small submersible based on drawings made by Bud Froehlich for a vehicle he called the Seapup. General Mills won the bid for $472,517 for an unnamed 6,000-foot submersible. Source: here.

See other early Underwater Robots here.