Robot built by science teacher Mr Bernard Smith in the 1950s. Mr Smith named it "Robbie the Robot." Bernard Smith, a teacher at Hawthorn Central School in Melbourne, built the robot to demonstrate the possibilities of mechanical devices to his students.

The robot was built from scratch using ready-made and surplus materials. The frame is made of 'Dexion' type shelving and the servo motors are war-surplus aircraft components. The wheels on which it moves are tail wheels from a P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft. It was operated by two 12 volt car batteries with a remote control panel connected by a cord.

The robot has 13 motors for forward and backwards movement as well as arm control. 'Robbie' could move backwards, sideways and forwards, move its arms and hands and handle objects.

Robbie the Robot was featured in a Cinesound newsreel feature in1957. The newsreel reflected the prevailing view in the 1950s of robots as rapidly replacing manual labour and domestic work.

Physical Description

Robot with metal frame, fittings and galvanised metal covering sheet. Most of the Robot's exterior metal surfaces have been painted grey. Plywood shelves have various electrical fittings screwed to them, and there is extensive electrical wiring draped around the frame of the robot. The 'head' contains two lamps and a speaker. The 'hands' have pads of purple and black rubber. The robot has three wheels with black rubber tyres. There is a separate wooden control box connected to Robbie by a long, thick grey cable.

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