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Atomic Box
Atomic Robot Man

Unknown, 1949
5 inches tall

As far as anyone knows, this is the second toy robot ever produced. The exact date of manufacture is unknown, but evidence suggests -- and most experts agree -- that the earliest version of this robot dates from post-WWII occupied Japan, probably around 1949. Certainly, the name points to the world's newfound fascination with atomic energy and its potential to power advanced technologies.

There are two versions of the toy, one with die-cast arms, one with arms made of tin. There's reason to believe that the former was produced in 1950, as evidenced by an example given out as a promotional item at a science fiction convention that year. On the other hand, the catalog from Sotheby's Griffith Auction in 2000 suggests the opposite might be the case.

More than this, Atomic Robot Man appears with many different paint schemes, all based around brown, grey, and a sort of blueish grey (with red ears and feet, and silver hands and mouth). This had more to do with the day's batch of paint at the factory, and the workers' attention to detail than anything else. There were also two standard rivet methods used to hold the on/off switch in place. One is as featured in the Attic's toy, the other uses a single-piece rivet with no washer (and looks more like a cap).

Atomic Robot Man's action is as primitive as its design, featuring a pin-driven walking mechanism. His arms hang loosely by his side, though the die-cast arms tend to jiggle when the toy moves.