Mechanized Robot thumbnail 1
Mechanized Robot thumbnail 2
+4
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at Young V&A
Imagine Gallery, Adventure, Case 1

This object consists of 3 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Mechanized Robot

Mechanical Toy
1956 to 1959 (manufactured)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Boxed, battery-operated, tinplate toy robot, based on the character 'Robby the Robot' from the motion picture 'Forbidden Planet.'

The robot's body is blac,k with red feet and bands on the arms. The arms are forward facing with rubber hands at the ends. In the centre of its chest is a silver square with a red switch. His head is mainly within a clear Perspex dome and there are antennae on either side of his head, one facing upwards the other sideways. The two battery compartments, are located (one) in each lower leg.

The box had a plain card bottom and a printed top. The main box colour is blue and has a picture of the robot, realised in red, walking in an extraterrestrial landscape.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Robot
  • Packaging
  • Packaging
Titles
  • Mechanized Robot (manufacturer's title)
  • Robby the Robot (popular title)
Materials and techniques
Pressed tinplate, plastic, electronic components, printed card
Brief description
Boxed battery operated tin toy, 'Robby the Robot', made in Japan by Nomura about 1957-1959.
Physical description
Boxed, battery-operated, tinplate toy robot, based on the character 'Robby the Robot' from the motion picture 'Forbidden Planet.'

The robot's body is blac,k with red feet and bands on the arms. The arms are forward facing with rubber hands at the ends. In the centre of its chest is a silver square with a red switch. His head is mainly within a clear Perspex dome and there are antennae on either side of his head, one facing upwards the other sideways. The two battery compartments, are located (one) in each lower leg.

The box had a plain card bottom and a printed top. The main box colour is blue and has a picture of the robot, realised in red, walking in an extraterrestrial landscape.
Dimensions
  • Box height: 35cm
  • Box width: 15cm
  • Box depth: 15cm
Style
Production typeMass produced
Marks and inscriptions
  • 'MECHANIZED / ROBOT / BATTERY OPERATED' (Printed on the box lid.)
  • 'CLEAR PLASTIC DOME / LIGHTS UP - SEE THE / PISTONS IN ACTION!' (Printed in yellow bubble on the box lid.)
  • 'ADJUSTABLE / ARMS' (Printed in yellow bubble on the box lid)
  • 'AMAZING BATTERY / OPERATED MECHA / NIZED ROBOT' (Printed inside a yellow bubble on the box lid)
Object history
This object was acquired for the V&A Museum of Childhood's exhibition Space Age: Exploration, Design and Popular Culture, which opened on 22nd November 2007. It was bought at Christie's in November 2005 as part of a collection of robots and space toys. The collector, Paul Lips, ran an antique toy shop in Milan from the early 1990s, where he became particularly interested in space toys. The collection covered what he believed to be their golden age: 1955 to 1965.


After the Second World War, Japan became the pre-eminent manufacturer of tin toys through direct financial support from the United States for its toy industry, and through preferential access to US toy markets. Importantly, Japanese manufacturers were able to perfect small battery-powered motors, which gave Japanese toys a superior range of movements. One of the most celebrated subjects expressed in tin toys is space and space travel. Many highly imaginative toys were produced in the era of the Space Age (1957-1972), inspired by the widespread optimism of the times, and by a fresh public appetite for all things space.
Subject depicted
Collection
Accession number
B.60:1 to 3-2005

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Record createdDecember 2, 2008
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