The O-man, 1953's world strongest remote controlled mechanical arm


To help atomic engineers to reach into dangerously radiated chambers to assemble "hot" engine parts, The General Electric Company created the O-Man, a steel robot that combines the enormous strength needed for hoisting massive atomic aircraft motors with the gentle dexterity required for fitting their parts together (in the image above the arm carries and egg).

O-Man (a contraction of "overhead manipulator") is the world's biggest and strongest arm. It weighs 15 tons, can lift 7.000 pounds. Its "elbow" is a big geared box from which a retractable forearm extends. Its "hand", coming out of the "wrist", has two fingers so skillful that O-Man can screw asmall bolts in place, saw sheet metal, drill holes etc. Coordinated by remote-control levers, its every move is controlled by an operator in a shielded adjoining room.

Cutting cake, O-Man's twin claws manipulate knife to prove wrist motion compensates for stiffness of fingers.

Pouring milk, the hand shows that it can tilt a light object very slowly. It can also rivet, weld, solder, hammer.

Screwing nut on bolt, O-Man reveals wrist turns full circle. For atomic work, operator in shielded room would watch O-Man through binoculars.

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