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Lunik

Design of Yonezawa‘s Mr. Atomic

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Lunik

I love the design of Yonezawa‘s Mr. Atomic robots.

 

Would you fancy to be entertained by some free, maybe crazy assumptions? Had this in mind for years. Beware: Nothing here has been veryfied by any research regarding the creator of Mr. Atomic and the robot‘s true design process. No proper journalism. Please read this as the expression of my personal view and the joy I feel about Yonezawa’s admirable Mr. Atomics.

 

Two special aspects

 

First: The basic shape, the architecture

Since Robby featured a paraboliod dome, that idea was omnipresent and a "natural" choice for other robot designs. But what do you think about the following?:

 

 

62DC9988-06A0-4F53-884C-87DD41481E76.jpeg.8beae06247e23ae4240aaef58f453fad.jpeg

Reactor housing at Garching, Germany   -   Mr. Atomic, silvery version

 

 

The very design of Mr. Atomic might well have been inspired by the shape of the once famous Garching reactor housing, a nuclear research facility of the Technical University Munich-Garching. Establishing Germany's first nuclear reactor attracted a lot of public attention. The premises had to be most representative. Gerhard Weber, architect of Bauhaus education, developed this eye catching housing, unusual and so 50s/60s style.

 

9687BA2A-407E-4FAA-A34D-AADA8DFC1EC5.jpeg.4339f06541350925bf46528d5c752160.jpeg

Functional model presented by the director of the Institute for Technical Physics - construction view

 

 

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Lunik

The main building was presented and discussed in boulevard gazettes as well as in the architecture and design community around the world. Well known as the "Atom Ei (Atomic Egg)“, in public view it had become an icon of nuclear reactor housing and modern design for a decade. Operation started in 1957, got closed down in 2000. The building still preserved under the law for protection of architectural monuments.

 

10A7ED45-3C85-4B9E-8642-D93818CE378A.jpeg.467ffad7ae2909e42d17a110cbcb68e1.jpeg

Postcard of early landscape view   -   Fashion photo from 1962, the year of Mr. Atomic in sears catalog

 

The idea of creating an atomic egg toy robot, a rocking reactor, does not seem so strange, given the design influences of the era.

 

B572E6CB-E33B-4BB4-8F2B-506C8194F4C6.jpeg.9eb5d127562e1e25f13da54c6458f4f2.jpeg

Own photo shot at the reactor’s location in 2008 with a litte photo shop job applied

 

 

Part 2 to follow

 

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nasa

Nice!

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Morbius

Very interesting indeed!

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David Kirk

That's a good connection. I always thought Mr. Atomic was probably based on Robby the robot's head. They just stuck arms and little feet on it and it was ready to go.

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RoboCopy

The resemblance is certainly striking. Great hypothesis!

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Roboto

Yes, very interesting!  Also, when I see the dome it reminds me of the head of the X-70 Tulip Robot.

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steve

Not far fetched - but would love to see the original blueprints 

 

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Lunik

Thanks guys, for your positive comments.

 

Maybe I‘ve been carried away by my associations. Steve’s note reminded me we at least have some prototype documentation.

 

B4D0F25C-03BB-48D3-9DDB-06803F2E7BCE.jpeg.034ebf303364b87651dab7390abf03aa.jpeg

 

 

The Japan International Toy Fair ad showing a less sophisticated litho and the ad clip from a Sears catalog showing the design as the amazing working prototype our member t54 kindly presented here.

 

Don’t miss the story of that treasure and a sensitive restauration. I’m still jealous.

 

The earlier litho not yet featuring the atomic structure symbol on the belt buckle. The Sears ad mentioning a ‚computer panel‘, no reactor array, could have been the result of a jump started advertising campaign not quite coordinated with the development team, though the name ‚Mr. Atomic’ was already set and could have proposed different thoughts.

 

These development steps indicate, the design did not take a streight road to perfectly represent what I think might have been the inspiration. Anyway, steps also indicate, the design did not feel right before it reached the great final version.

 

 

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Joe K.

1934626208_mratomic1enlarged2.JPG.816c10092583e75cfecc6dff7c286c6e.JPG

From a 1962 Cragstan catalog.

 

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David Kirk

All that work and so few must have been made. I wonder how many originals exist in each color? Are there a hundred?

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astrogonza

Nice Pictures, thanks for sharing , , , ,

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Lunik

Ha, Joe, this is in the Alphadrome Picture DB. Almost forgot about that colourful document. More of a bullet or a bomb. What a different and shocking sight compared to the production versions.

 

Now I‘m convinced, the design did not start with higher inspiration. Still, someone must have said, ‚Lets give Mr. Atomic another review’ until it all became pushed to high level - my view. I‘ll continue soon …

 

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roboz

Certainly a plausible theory 

The pics were great regardless 

True atomic age marvels!

 

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Lunik

@David

Great story your Mr. Atomic, sold, missed, finally found its way back to you.

 

The numbers produced / sold / in collector‘s hands. Sometimes I‘m curious to have such info. Though with all the overview and transparency gained over the years of using the web, the uncertainty about the number of pieces floating around still restricts collectors to follow their taste and ambition. No exact scoring, gladly. Some of the early years’ adventure remained. At least for the pieces that don‘t show up every week.

 

My guess: A couple of thousands produced. Sold: If Sears did not update the ad, they may not have won so many customers for Mr. A. What did the latest retailer’s ads look like? Production rate usually relates to market success. In collector‘s hands: Enough not to cause another hype. Still, more and more of them cobbled with. Few true vintage, MINT or with vintage flaws.

 

Prices for Mr. Atomic, paid or said to have been paid, were the first I watched when they went through the ceiling. 24.000 DM, or was it US Dollars, for a single piece, or was it for a whole collection with one Mr. A included? Permanent ads (not mine) in Antique Toy World seeking Mr. A. Thought I‘ll never get one. The years when I expected prices would not come down again soon. Grab what I can get in time. Tried not to spend my money on types I could get later anytime I wanted. Made me accept some flaws when eventually I came across the Mr. Atomics that are now in my collection. It‘s allright, part of my personal history.

 

When the Mr. A hype had contributed to initiate the repro industry, more vintage pieces showed up, prices came down and the hype moved on to other types. Of course other types deserved all this attention as well or even more. And I have been pulled away from Mr. A., moved with the crowd. Even missed to buy better specimen when the opportunity seemed to have come along. I began to understand the dynamics of hypes in collecting.

 

Meanwhile left me sitting thinking if people don‘t actually love Mr. Atomic. That‘s part of why I put down my views here.

   

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