1948-9 – “Bimbo” the Mechanical Elephant prototype – Maurice Radburn (British)

Whilst it was Frank Stuart that gets most of the credit for the famous British Robot Elephant, it was in fact Maurice Radburn, an employee of Frank Stuart's that toyed with the idea of building a Walking Elephant. Frank Stuart had already built a stiff-legged motorised elephant but wasn't entirely happy with it. Maurice Radburn presented his boss with a model prototype, then soon after produced an electric-powered model, complete with hide, dressings, and a model Mahout riding it.

Thanks  to early research work by Larry Gavette in the late 1970's and early 1980's we do have pictures and a captured British "Blue Peter"  T.V. program that featured Maurice and his models.

Video contains British "Blue Peter" T.V. programs dated December 1975, then a follow-up program on 5th April, 1976. Video Courtesy Larry Gavette.

Maurice Radburn.

Stills from video clip.


Maurice Radburn with "Bimbo", the mechanical elephant prototype. All Photos courtesy Larry Gavette.

The same Bimbo that was shown on the "Blue Peter" program 5th April, 1976.

Letter from Maurice Radburn to Larry Gavette (1980) showing the wire-frame model sans masking.

Note: You can see from Radburn's letterhead that he was skilled in Theatrical masks and Costumes, Model Theatres and Puppets. The Craftmasks business was post Frank Stuart's Mechanimals Ltd as a result of Stuart's bankruptcy in the early 1950's.


Maurice Radburn letters to Larry Gavette – 1979-81.


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This entry was posted on Sunday, February 27th, 2011 at 9:41 pm and is filed under Walking Machines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “1948-9 – “Bimbo” the Mechanical Elephant prototype – Maurice Radburn (British)”

  1. sushi Says:

    This image shows mechanical elephant in Japan.
    http://www.geocities.co.jp/Playtown-Yoyo/4367/image311.gif
    12V electric-powered, 1/2 HP

    The image is from this website:
    http://www.geocities.co.jp/Playtown-Yoyo/4367/nihongorakushoho.html

    According to the website the images are from a catalog of “Nihon goraku-ki seisakusho (Japan amusement machine manufacturing)” around 1935.

  2. cyberne1 Says:

    Thank you, Sushi, for that information. I’ll add it to my website. You may also be intereseted in http://cyberneticzoo.com/?p=4758 and http://cyberneticzoo.com/?p=4755 . You will find all my mechanical elephant information halfway down this page http://cyberneticzoo.com/?page_id=164 .

  3. steve radburn Says:

    i have all drawings and video from blue peter

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