8 SERVO 11.2017
Q. I watched the video of your vintage toy robot collection and it’s very interesting to me. Some of those are probably valuable. Any tips for someone
starting out in collecting robots?
McKees Rocks, PA
A. Thanks for your interest in my collection! From my experience, most everyone likes toys and most everyone likes robots. (I shared a video of my
compilation of bots in the January column introduction;
check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
LMOtGYprBRQ). My “museum” (Figure 1) is tiny
compared to the amazing Robot Hut at
However, I have a variety of toys spanning five decades
of my life. Mine are not as rare or valuable as the famous
poster robots in Figure 2; just ones that I personally find
interesting in looks or function.
As I mentioned in that column, I loved robots as a kid
in the 1960s and I had a collection of 10 robots I enjoyed
playing with. What a pity I sold some of mine at yard sales
for 25 cents in my crazy teenage years!
I was fortunate to find my robotic “calling” early in life.
I’m a professional toy designer and mechanical engineer, so
I really appreciate these vintage robots. A lot of clever
design and engineering went into
these toy robots; the mechanisms
are fantastic and worth
We live in a wonderful tech
world today, but honestly there is
much to be learned by studying
prior mechanical art.
For further reading, get the
wonderful book, 507 Mechanical
Movements: Mechanisms and
Devices. (I learned so much from
that book and Forrest Mim’s
Engineer’s Notebook, I could write a
volume about each.)
Everything in these vintage toys
was done by purely
electromechanical means in the era
by Eric Ostendorff
Our resident expert on all things robotic
is merely an email away.
firstname.lastname@example.org Tap into the sum of allhumanknowledge and get your questions answered here! From software algorithms to material selection,
Mr. Roboto strives to meet you where you are — and what more
would you expect from a complex service droid?
Ask Mr. Roboto
Figure 1. Just a small portion
of my collection.