Exhibit of the Month June 2012
Toy Robots (1960s until 2010)
There are small one and large ones. They are made from wood, plastic, or tin. On display here is a small part of a large collection. It consists of over 300 toy robots. The museum received them as a gift from Professor Berns. For many years, Professor Berns collected toy robots. He found them in supermarkets or at flea markets. He often bargained with children who offered their toys for sale.
Robots as human-like machines
Humans have always dreamed of bringing machines to life. These toys are also intended to represent human-like machines from the future. Ultimately, the toys show how people imagined the machines of tomorrow. They serve as a model for what is brand new in technology research. Since the state of technology always changes, the appearance and function of toys also change with time. Toy robots reflect a piece of the history of technology.
The first toy robots were angular and awkward. They were wound up with a key and moved forward mechanically. These robot-like figures changed over time to real, battery-operated action heroes. Today, they act as if they could communicate with the owner.
By the way, the word "robot" (Czech: robot) was invented by the Czech artist Josef Čapek. His brother Karel used it first in a theatre piece. That was in 1921. The word comes from "Robota", which means tedious labour.
Systematik: 09.05.09.04 Spielzeug