1955 – Mobile Remote Manipulator – (American)


1955 – Mobile Remote Manipulator at Argonne National Labs.


Sphere-mounted tongs, similar to those on Mobile Remote Manipulator.


Popular Mechanics Feb 1955

Lead Shield on Wheels Guards Atomic Worker
Electric motors propel a heavy, three-sided lead shield used in handling radioactive materials at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago. The barrier, which is four inches thick, has a lead-glass window through which the operator looks as he manipulates "hot" materials with tools which pass through ball joints located below the window. By moving either of the two handles located on the chassis, the operator drives and steers the five-ton unit. The handles control independent motors that move the front wheels, which allows great mobility. The unit is used in removing radio-active materials from a cyclotron while its 280-ton magnet is energized.

The above image has always reminded me of a Dalek. Was Terry Nation (creator) or Ray Cusick (designer) ever inspired by it?

There are similarities between the Argonne mobile platform and a Dalek:

The Kaled mutants are at war with the Thals.  To survive from further dangerous radiation that envelopes their planet, they encapsulated themselves in mobile platforms to protect their already mutated bodies. They became the Daleks.  [See Dr Who and Dalek history here.]

In my research for my next series of posts, I came across this interesting Diving helmet. It, too, reminded me of a Dalek.


"Not the Man from Mars". The diving helmet from 1938. Source: Moderm Mechanix, March, 1938.

So, quite possibly,…….


Early Dalek design by Ray Cusick showing sphere-mounted tongs (a.k.a. ball-joint attachments).


See other early Teleoperators here.

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