Christie's Out of the Ordinary auction to feature giant robot

21 May 2013
imports_CCGB_cygan-1-_38736.jpg Christie's Out of the Ordinary auction to feature giant robot
Made in 1957, Cygan the robot is expected to fetch between £6,000 - 8,000. ...
Christie's Out of the Ordinary sale on 5th September 2013 will feature an eclectic selection of fascinating items, spanning all eras from the prehistoric natural world to the surreal realm of science fiction. Building on the success of The London sale and summer exhibition held in 2012, this unique auction will be preceded by an extended public exhibition displaying the intriguing items for five weeks from 5th August until the auction on 5th September. The exhibition will offer inspiration to those with a range of interests and will appeal to new and established collectors. Out of the Ordinary includes more than 150 lots ranging from £1,000 to around £100,000.

One of the most extraordinary items in the sale is Cygan, a giant robot made in 1957. Created in the year that Sputnik, the world's first satellite was launched into space and the same year Britain tested the H-bomb, Cygan epitomises this new era of technological innovation. The eight-foot giant is a monumental relic of the atomic age and was a great celebrity of the 1950s and '60s. This remarkable item will be offered with an estimate of £6,000 – 8,000.

The impressive cyborg is one of the most sophisticated robots of its time, pre-dating PCs by a decade and the internet by more than 33 years. Designed by Dr Ing Fiorito, an enthusiastic aeromodeller from Turin, Cygan could originally walk forwards or backwards, turn right or left, raise its arms and could lift or carry items. It was an extremely advanced model for the time, with a capacity to accept spoken commands and signals and respond to light rays. Not only could it raise its arms from a resting position in just three seconds, but it could shift its enormous weight of 1,000 lbs at a staggering rate of 10 feet per minute.

Cygan was first presented at the Milan sample fair in 1957 and then travelled to London, Olympia in 1958 to perform in front of astonished crowds. The colossal robot captivated children and adults alike, walking around the auditorium and even showing off its dance moves with a well-dressed lady. It would have been an extraordinary experience to witness the workings of such an advanced robot and Dr. Ing Fiorito was most likely considered an innovator of the time. Before completing Cygan, he worked on a series of models, which he fitted with radio control circuits. The first prototype and following two or three models were built around five feet high, in preparation for the impressive final design, over eight feet high.

You can watch Cygan in action on the Pathe News website.

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