metal barn-sized building with the
front facing away from the road was
the actual museum. Figure 4 shows
the six of us in front of the building. I
do believe that the 18 foot high robot
with smoke coming from its mouth
and the ‘Robot Hut’ sign might have
given it away, had it been facing
towards the road.
John Rigg, the owner and curator
of the museum came out to meet us.
Two wildly friendly dogs were at his
side and soon were nuzzling up to us
for a friendly pet or two. John
Christopher Lloyd in the movie, Back
to the Future.
The museum is open by invitation
only, so that was the reason John met
us upon arrival. You need to email him
if you’d like to schedule a visit.
His massive collection of movie
and other robots was so
overwhelming that he finally had to
move his collection into the newly
built metal building in 2000. It is not a
commercial operation, but a passion
of love of robots. He cannot take the
time to show every casual visitor the
museum who may happen upon his
farm, as there are many chores and
duties he must attend to daily.
We entered through the white
door into a small 6 by 10 foyer
adorned with robot posters. Another
door led us into the actual large
gallery area. It was breathtaking. Wall
to wall robots — from tiny robots that
could fit in your hand to eight foot tall
creations straight out of one of your
favorite robot movies. It was hard to
figure out where to start as all of us
set off in different directions.
The Machine Man
Band will Entertain
Right near the entrance stood
two six foot tall robots that comprised
the ‘Machine Man Band’ as shown in
John soon had the two robots playing
several of over 160 tunes that he
programmed into the computer.
He designed and built these two
robots from scratch; the music wafted
throughout the museum and was
quite pleasant. The actual
‘instruments’ were the pipes in the
chest of the blue robot and the drums
in its hands — not some separately
recorded music. They are a bit loud,
sounding much like a calliope in a
The Machine Man Band was built
in 2002, then rebuilt in 2003. It was
featured in SERVO Magazine 11 years
ago when John described how the
over 100 MIDI electro-mechanical
devices were programmed, and how
he took almost a year to build both
robots, plus their 48 organ pipes and
solenoid valves to control the whole
If you (as a visitor to the Robot
Hut) only had a few minutes to see
the exhibits, the area of the museum
shown in Figure 6 would be the place
to stop. B9 from the TV series, Lost in
Space is on your left, built by John in
the 1990s. John used to video tape
his robot project’s construction
progress on VHS tapes and he has
those tapes in storage somewhere.
Just like he did with his Robby the
Robot, he said he kept “building B9
over and over again until I got it
The actual movie original —
costing $75,000 to build in 1960 —
was copied and had several versions
during the TV show. They bounced
around amongst owners, and
supposedly one of the originals is now
in Paul Allen’s Science Fiction Museum
in Seattle. It seems to be one of the
most copied robots for collectors who
are extreme fans of the Lost in Space
The large silver robot on your far
right is Gort from The Day the Earth
Stood Still, who is waiting for your
command, “Klaatu barada nikto.” He
is a bit shorter than the original, but
every bit as perfect in form.
Diminutive Huey, Dewey, and
Louie from the film, Silent Running are
at the bottom, and were built by John
in 2004. To the far right is an excellent
reproduction of the time machine
from the 1960 movie of the same
name. Though not a robot movie, it is
one of the most noteworthy science
fiction films of all time.
Post comments on this article at www.servomagazine.com/index.php/magazine/article/july2015_ThenNow.
Advances in robots and robotics over the years.
SERVO 07.2015 77
Figure 4 - The Robot Hut museum in
Figure 5 - Machine Man Band robots
and computer control.
Figure 6 - Robots galore!