Friday, July 8, 2011
Some generic info about vintage TOY ROBOTS you might not know
This tin plate, circa 1960s Robotank-Z space robot is fully functional with flashing lights and retracting machine guns. In mint condition with original box, the robot is marked "Made by T.N. Made in Japan."
1. Toys were being made in Japan before World War II broke out, but it was after the war ended that Japan seized the opportunity to use industries like toy manufacturing to strengthen its struggling economy
2. The first toy robot (a windup) is believed to be Japan’s Robot Lilliput – believed by some to have been made as early as 1938, while others think it was in post-war1940s – this was quickly followed by the unveiling of the more well-known Atomic Robot Man. This robot was given out at the New York Sci-fi convention in 1950.
3. The design of many Japanese robots of the 1950s was significantly influenced by the world’s fascination with space exploration, at the peak of the Space Race.
4. For collectors toy robots bring their own challenge of authentication – as many robots made in Japan have an American company logo – which doesn’t accurately identify who made it
5. In 1950, prior to the electronics and toy push, only 1 percent of products imported to the U.S were made in Japan. In 2010, 6.4 percent of U.S. imports came from Japan – with automobiles topping the list.
6. Japan’s toy robot makers were “going green” long before it became the movement it is today – and at the time it was out of economic necessity that they would use tin cans cast off by plants used to make tuna cans or powdered milk cans, to make smaller toy robots
7. One of the pioneer companies of Japanese toy robot production was the Tokyo Toy Industry Group.
8. Japanese toy makers were the first to use battery-operated motors in their toys – taking toys beyond clockwork operation
Standing 12 inches high, this marked Made in Japan robot has a host of special features. As the space man walks his chest pops down and a video action screen appears then closes.