Posts Tagged ‘Mechanical Man’

1948 – Ueno Zoo Robotized “Monkey Train” – Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

The monkey with the robot engineer. There appears to be a photo-electric cell mounted on the front. Maybe this is the 'robot' safeguard required for safe operation.

Jiro Aizawa was the inventor of the robotized "Monkey Train" at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo. Its been siad that he also patented the train, but I have not been able to locate that patent.

 
Source: Japanese Wartime Zoo Policy: The Silent Victims of World War by Mayumi Itoh
Children's Zoo and "Monkey Train"
Ueno Zoo also opened a children's zoo for the first time in Japan in April 1948. It also began the "Monkey Train" in October of the same year in order to attract visitors, given the paucity of popular animals among children. The Monkey Train, with a simian conductor carrying children in an open train, became an institution at the zoo (the handle was actually controlled electrically and was safe). Hayashi, the "idea man," designed this program and supervised the actions of the female crab-eating macaque as the conductor. This popular attraction continued until June 1974 when the zoo accepted criticisms, domestic and foreign, that chaining the crab-eating macaque to the train for over an hour, making it perform as a conductor, ran counter to the fundamental mandate of the Animal Protection and Control Law that Japan had legislated in 1973. At any rate, owing to Koga's leadership and Hayashi's creativity, Ueno Zoo recovered in 1951 almost to its wartime peak in 1940, registering 1,196 specimens of 232 species.'

Source: Far Eastern Economic Review, September 27, 1974– Page 13

 Should monkeys drive trains?
Since 1948, happy trained monkeys have been regularly driving a three-car train around a 164-metre track inside Tokyo's Ueno Zoo, carrying an annual average of more than one million passengers, mostly children. They pull a lever, when the human station-master whistles, maintains an even speed with a hairy paw on the brakes, bring the train to a smooth halt at the end of the line, and spring out to salute the dismounting passengers. The working schedule for each monkey is less than two hours, with a union lay-off of two hours.  The zoo authorities insist that the monkeys which are taught to drive are happier than caged monkeys, which jabber excitedly and point enviously as the train speeds by and the driver waves to them with tolerant superiority.
However, the Japan Animal Welfare Society (JAWS) rejoined the Japanese SPCA in protesting against the unique practice. A new Japanese law, JAWS says, demands that "animals should be handled in a proper manner with respect to the natural habits." Jiro Aizawa, chief director of the Japanese Children's Culture Research Institute, who invented and patented the monkey's train, opposes the animal lovers' campaign. "These adults", he argues logically, "must be persons who have never experienced the joys of playing with toys."


The new "Monkey Train" was based on the then new Bullet Train.  The monkey was now only a "passenger".

December, 1971.

Due to public criticism, Ueon's "Monkey Train" was stopped in June of 1974.


The idea of using primates in attractions was still alive in 1950, although the orangutan is not actually driving in this case.
Mechanix Illustrated, November 1950.
Ape Engineer Ling Wong is a baby orangutan at Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago. Placidly wearing an engineer's cap, gloves and goggles, Ling squats on the Diesel engine of the "Zoo Line," the kids' own train, and it would be hard to say who's having the most fun. Ling used to work for the Chimpanzeelvania Line.

See Aizawa's other Robot trains here.

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


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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

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

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.


vb-10000-claws-x640

Source: Gizmodo
These Giant Claws Pluck Oil Rigs From The Briny Deep
Andrew Tarantola 31 May 2012 11:30 AM
Though they weigh as much as 55,000 tonnes, the massive semi-submersible oil rigs dotting the Gulf of Mexico can still sink when faced with a hurricane’s onslaught. And there’s only one way to pull the rigs’ 6800-tonne decks off the seafloor after such a catastrophe — with America’s heaviest-lifting ship, the VB 10,000.

Designed by the Versabar corporation (based off the company’s previous heavy lifter, the Bottom Feeder) and constructed by Gulf Marine Fabricators in Ingleside, Texas, the $US100 million VB 10,000 is a heavy-lift catamaran that mounts a pair of massive lift gantries atop a pair of barges. Perhaps massive is a bit of an understatement.

Each gantry measures 73 metres tall and weighs over 3000 tonnes — or about as much as the Ben Franklin Bridge in Delaware. The barges both measure 90m by 22m, and each is powered by a quartet of 1000hp thrusters that also allow it to remain stationary over the job site. To prevent the motion of the ocean from affecting the the lift, the VB 10,000 utilises a set of articulated pins to connect the gantries to the barges. To perform the actual lift, four 1800-tonne lifting blocks are attached to the oil rig deck by divers, who also cut off the rig’s legs, and are then pulled to the surface by the vessel’s quad 360-tonne winches and deposited on the back of a waiting barge for transport back to port.

Launched in October 2010, the VB 10,000 has already logged over 40 lifts — everything from underwater debris retrieval, to topside decommissioning, to jacket removal and reefing. And with the vessel’s new grasping devices, the VB 10,000 will be able to pick up the some 1800 rigs US regulators have deemed necessary for removal in the next decade.

Aptly named “The Claws”, these underwater lift devices are exactly what they sound like, gigantic pincers not unlike ones you’d find in a carnival game. Each independently operated claw measures 37m tall, 34m wide, and weighs 900 tonnes. They can also be used in conjunction with a set of cradles that are sunk to the seafloor ahead of a claw lift. The debris is first loaded into the cradle, then the the cradle itself is raised. This prevents the claws accidentally crimping a a multimillion dollar rig deck as it’s recovered.


See Steam Men and early Walking Machines here.

See early Humanoid Robots here.

1916 – “King Grey” the Electric Titan – Fern 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.

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 revolutionary 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, demoralize, 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 equipment of the armies of the future ?– "Popular Science Siftings."

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 22, 1914

EXHIBITING MECHANICAL MAN,
Fern Pieper Shows Electric Man Who Could Walk Long Distances If Anyone Wanted Him to Do it.
At the room on Third street, in the Wuerker building, where the International Correspondence School is conducting an exhibit,  Ernest Harlow, the local representative, today put on exhibition the mechanical man which was built by Fern Pieper, one of the pupils of the school. Mr. Pleper is a mechanical genius and in his spare time has perfected many curious mechanical devices. One of these is the mechanical man. He hasn't put a head on the man as all that is needed for the present is the legs-the motive device. He plans to construct a nine foot high man, if anybody would engage the services of such a man, and let the mechanical man walk to the San Francisco Exposition. A man of such size as Mr. Pieper proposes would be able to haul a real man in a cart behind, who could guide the brainless mechanical man.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 25, 1914

A great many interested spectators today at noon witnessed some of the performances of the mechanical man built by Ferdinand Pieper, and equipped by him with electrical contrivances and devices calculated to make him go some. He is unlike "Percy the Mechanism Man" of the funny papers a few years ago, in that his conduct is more orderly. Percy was continually doing things to prove himself a natural outlaw, and all of the machinery that caused him to do things, when a button was pressed, was inside of him.

Ferd's mechanism man is not operated altogether by inside machinery. There is some behind him that assists materially in boosting him along. He claims to do nothing but walk. He was allowed to walk alone and unguided today for a distance on the sidewalk on Belle street, and he did the deed well. Weston, O'Leary or any other champion walker would not be on it with the Alton Percy as far as endurance is concerned anyway, and he gets over the ground rapidly too. As a walking advertisement for some big concern, the Alton Percy would be a winner. He could walk from ocean to ocean and from "Greenland's icy mountains" to Huerta's mescal land without acquiring a corn on his foot or a stone bruise by a toe. The model is not a very large one, but the size of the one that would make the transcontinental trip could be regulated to suit. He could be twenty feet high if desired.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 17, 1916

The whimsical conceit of an Alton inventive genius – a mechanical man – something that was built more as a form of amusement, may become a means of destruction, is the prophecy of a writer who is telling the story about the creature of Fern Pieper's mind. The "Grey King" of Alton has been given much space in the December issue of the Illustrated World, which has just been received at the Mather Book store. In addition to the write-up, the front cover shows the Grey King in action in battle, spitting death and destruction to those in front and on either side of him.

The Grey King is an iron man invented by Fern Pieper, and the story in the Illustrated World which puts Fern and the King before the scientists and inventors of the world, was written by Herbert C. Crocker of Edwardsville. It tells how the model created interest and excitement a few years ago when the inventor sent it out walking through the streets of Alton. That was only a model. A real iron man is now being fashioned in a St. Louis foundry and will soon be ready for action. The Illustrated World calls the invention an electric Titan and elaborates on the possibilities of the invention. With a flock of such men equipped properly, Uncle Sam could send this terrible army against an enemy, and each member of the flock would walk unhesitatingly into the ranks of that same enemy, mowing them down as the harvester mows down grass, and nothing they could do could stop the destruction or disable the walking iron men until the electrical apparatus that guided them broke or run down.

The article is certain to give Alton wide publicity, and it will give Fern Pieper a little, at least, of the credit that is due him. He is an inventor of great ability and merit, and a dreamer who will live to see some of his cherished dreams come true. Machines in war in Europe are the agencies winning the most battles, and it is not a far cry to equipping these machine-made iron men of Pieper's designing with bullet propelling apparatus. Iron that can be made to walk around like a man can be fixed to shoot like a man and with powers and immunity no mortal possesses.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 20, 1917

WHY NOT TRY A FLOCK OF THESE
Alton Iron Men as Destroyers In France, and Other Fighting Countries In Europe?
Several months ago the Telegraph published an account of the construction by Fern Pieper of a massive iron or steel man, who was equipped with internal machinery that kept him moving steadily in which ever direction he was started.
It was constructed by Mr. Pieper for advertising purposes or a commercial traveller, as it were, but some of the leading magazines of the country took the matter up and pointed out the possibilities of use and destruction the Pieper iron man could become in case the U. S. went to war with any other nation. The man's internal apparatus, it is pointed out in addition to the motive power (electric) could be equipped with rapid fire guns or shells, and the man or a flock of such men could be turned loose out the enemy and their advance could not be stopped or the work of destruction prevented by an army. The iron men would continue to advance and pour fire out of the port holes provided until the electric apparatus run down, while shot or shell of the enemy's army would have little or no effect on the iron men.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 13, 1918

MECHANICAL MAN BREAKS DOWN ON TRYOUT.
Man Who Did Not Understand Mechanism Got Machinery Out of Order and He Had To Be Pushed Home.
An "iron man" who can walk and may be a regular Percy, the mechanical man, was taken out for a walk Friday afternoon, by a man from St. Louis, who wanted to test out the man prior to closing a contract to have him rigged up to help roll Liberty Loan bonds. The man was in a shed at the home of Chas. Oehler, who has been perfecting the ground work laid by Fern Pieper, whose ideas originated the walking mechanical man. The St Louis man could not wait, it is reported, until Mr. Oehler could be found to take the man out for a walk and the result was a crank broke in the mechanism of the man. The mechanical man would not walk any further. A new crank was made and that was broken, too. Something had gone wrong. The mechanical man was at last pushed by six other men back to his shed where he will stay awhile. It was planned to use the man in parades to advertise the Liberty Loan. He could not be put in shape for use in Alton next Wednesday, it is feared, but the St. Louis man was so attracted by the possibilities of the man he wanted to use him in a hurry. The "man" walked to Ninth and Alby streets, where he stuck. He had previously been out walking on the streets at midnight, so he would attract less attention.

See here for images of the revised giant pulling a "Liberty" boat.


See other Steam Men and early Walking Machines here.

See other early Humanoid Robots here.


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.


 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1935 – Unknown Mechanical Man – (American)

Source: (I've lost and been unable to relocate the source to this image. Please contact me if you do know the source.)

This early Robot may have been in the Boston area in 1935. It looks capable of standing and sitting, raising and lowering either arm, and appears to have microphones in its ears. Like most of this era, it most likely would have responded to a sequence of commands.  In its right hand is a pistol; a popular 'trick' at the time was to, upon a verbal command,  raise an arm and fire a gun.


See all the known early Humanoid Robots of this era here.


 

Tags: , , , , ,