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Everyone has an origin story...

A few months before I started kindergarten, my dad was stationed to Germany, and during our time there my aunt traveled from Japan for a visit. She and my mom took a week-long trip to Paris together to take in the sights, and they returned with assorted souvenirs for the family, including my first ever tin robot as a gift from my aunt – a Horikawa Rotate-o-Matic Super Astronaut from Japan.
Even as a six-year old, the humor of receiving a Japanese robot as a memento of France wasn’t lost on me, but I was thrilled nonetheless. I inserted 2 D-cell batteries and set it loose on the kitchen floor: the noisy motor spun up, and Super Astronaut took its first steps, its arms swinging in sync with the legs. After a few seconds it stopped, and the doors on its chest opened, revealing two lasers that flashed while the torso rotated 360 degrees. After that the doors closed, and Super Astronaut resumed its walk before repeating this cycle again and again. I was mesmerized.
I couldn’t have known at the time that this event would mark the start of my lifelong infatuation with tin robots; I was captivated by their technical sophistication and inspiring design, all for the purpose of entertainment. But perhaps more than anything, to me they represented an idealistic vision of our future beyond anything I had imagined before.

About this site

I discovered that this domain name was available 20 years ago, and although I didn’t have any immediate plans, it was too good to pass up. My initial idea was to create a news blog about tin toys, sprinkled with anecdotes and perhaps some of my personal art projects.
In my day job I’m a user experience designer, and on a personal level I’ve always had a passion for retro futurism – ‘what tomorrow looked like yesterday’ as I think of it – and  for me tin toy robots have always embodied this quality more than anything else. Two decades ago, I fiddled with the idea of evolving the wonderful legacy of the vintage robot designs  –  imagining what they might look like beyond what was produced back in the day – so I drew up a few.
Fast forwarding twenty some odd years later, I decided to give it another go. But while doing the research this time, I was struck with a more profound appreciation of the craft and innovation of the original designs. So I dedicated myself to reproducing a selection of the vintage designs in their original glory. I still do hope to riff on the originals in subsequent designs with my own creations in the future, but I’m glad I started with the OG robots.
Researching the topic has helped enlighten me about the community of like-minded tin robot afficionados out there, and I’m eager to learn and share more as I evolve this site. My original aspirations have held true –  I’d still like to use the site to share general information about the art form AND  share some of my original work. But that may change as well – to quote a famous malapropism from the great Ringo Starr: “tomorrow never knows.”