I truly cannot express in words the joy I get at seeing a preserved newsreel, such as this 1958 British Pathe offering, introducing Gygan the Robot. Naturally thanks to 1977’s Star Wars as well as other sci-fi entertainment of my youth, a personal robot is something I have always dreamed of. Having said that however I do think a Droid or a Robot rock band is more my speed compared to the gargantuan beauty of Gygan!
Gygan is know by a few different monikers it would seem. Including Gentle Giant as well as Mister Moto and Cygan, depending on where you were introduced to him. Thanks to a smashing site called the Cybernetic Zoo, we know the robot’s creator is Piero Fiorito. While hailing from Turn, it is said he began building three different stages of robotic companions on a bet. Oh, I should also add that in addition he did all of this from not a laboratory but his garage.
What Makes Gygan Tick?
While it is certainly true that Piero’s creation is an impressive bit of robotics. It turns out the construction involved mostly Mecanno parts. Which is model construction kit system that was started in 1898 by Frank Hornby from Liverpool in the United Kingdom. Gygan was brought to life with the aid of a 28-volt battery, 13 electric motors, 170 valves, and over 300,000 parts. I must assume of course this is referring to the bolts and wheels from the Meccano kits. The Robot itself could walk, talk, and additionally accept verbal commands and acknowledge certain light rays.
If what the Cybernetic Zoo says is correct and it does have quite a few magazine articles and photographs to back up the claims. Gygan itself towered over other early robotic creations at over eight feet tall, not to mention it weighed over a 1,000 pounds.
Which might explain how it was in fact able to lift humans up and support them on his arms!
What Did The Future Hold For Gygan?
Well, not to get all dour but while Piero saw a future where his creation might be used to handle radioactive materials. Rather than fulfilling the noble dreams of it’s creator it appears that the robot instead found more use in advertising. From being used at a Ford motor company in Leeds to eventually finding itself rusting at an old aircraft museum.
In spite of this downward turn of events there is indeed a silver lining for the robot. About five years ago he turned up at an auction, where he sold for a total of 17 thousand pounds. Perhaps his new owner will help restore him to his past glory?
Now Take A Few Minutes And Marvel At Gygan In His Prime!
[Via] British Pathe
I have to admit that I believe the best reaction from the audience is this young boy. I feel that I might actually be able to read his mind…