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    Vintage British Robot Annihilates Auction Estimates, Earns £17,500

    Written by

    Derek Mead

    Editor-In-Chief

    Imagine waking up every morning and being greeted in your living room by a eight-foot tall aluminum 60-year-old with a neon green mohawk. For one collecter that common dream is now reality, following the purchase of a vintage British robot named Cygan for the sum of £17,500.

    That price came at a Christie's auction in London over the weekend, and shattered pre-auction estimates of £8,000-£12,000. Cygan was created in 1957 by an Italian inventor named Dr. Ing Fiorito to be household help—why a maid-bot would need to be as tall as the ceilings is beyond me—and according to the BBC, Cygan had the amazing abilities to crush cans and dance. So perhaps it's less a household bot and more a house party bot, right?

    Image courtesy Christie's

    A period film notes that the half-ton robot could also be useful for handling nuclear material for research purposes before it showed off its dancing skills by strutting about with a young woman. As the narrator in that linked film says, it "would take more than half a dozen ordinary men to hold him back if he lost his temper—or literall blew a gasket." 

    Cygan, which for unknown reasons was renamed Gygan when it arrived in Britain, could allegedly respond to voice and light commands as well as move its head and arms. It walked on stage for its debut at the 1958 British Electronic Computer Exhibition, which naturally wowed crowds. It's stunning tech for the 50s, and still impressive today.

    @derektmead

    Topics: robots, retrofuture, design

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