1950’s celebrity robot goes on world tour

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Tony Sale’s 1950’s creation of George the Robot has just left The National Museum of Computing to go on a world tour with a Science Museum exhibition.

George will join the new touring Science Museum exhibition exploring the 500-year story of humanoid robots and the artistic and scientific quest to understand what it means to be human.

Constructed in the 1950s by the man who later led the team to rebuild Colossus, George is made of recycled aluminium from a crashed Wellington Bomber. The robot was one of Tony Sale’s early ventures into electronics when he was a Pilot Officer at RAF Debden in Essex. It took him three weeks to build George in 1950 and he created quite a stir at the time, even attracting the attention of Pathé News.

Pathé Newsreel clip from 18 December 1950: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/robot/query/george+the+robot

Margaret Sale, TNMOC trustee and wife of the late Tony Sale, explained: “George languished in our garage until the Pathé footage came to the attention of Aardman Animations, producers of the Wallace and Gromit series, in 2010. Aged 60, George’s career was revitalised by an appearance on the TV series World of Invention. With his celebrity status renewed, George then took up residence in our Museum where he has fascinated visitors, especially students who can glimpse how far technology has come. Since George has just turned 65, we thought that a retirement world tour was fitting for this celebrity come-back age.”

Although George’s years are beginning to tell, he has been lovingly maintained by TNMOC volunteer and long-time friend of Tony Sale, Graham Wallace. Graham said: “Sadly, George can no longer walk or sit down and has lost the capacity to use his photocell eyes to locate and home in on an illuminated bottle of beer as he once could. But he is such a gem that we are very reluctant to do any transplants.”

George left in style proudly wearing his TNMOC volunteer badge and is expected to return in two years' time.

About The National Museum of Computing

The National Museum of Computing, located on Bletchley Park, is an independent charity housing the world's largest collection of functional historic computers, including the rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, and the WITCH, the world's oldest working digital computer. The Museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s and beyond.

The Museum runs a highly successful Learning Programme for schools and colleges and promotes introductions to computer coding amongst young people to inspire the next generation of computer scientists and engineers.

Sponsors of the Museum have included Bletchley Park Science and Innovation Centre, Bloomberg, CreateOnline, Ceravision, Fujitsu, InsightSoftware.com, Ocado Technology, FUZE, 4Links, Google UK, IBM, NPL, HP Labs, and BCS.

The whole Museum is open to the public from 12 noon - 5pm on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, spring and summer Bank Holidays. The Colossus and Tunny galleries are open daily. Public and private Guided Tours are available and bookable online – see the website or the iPhone app for details. Educational and corporate group visits are available by prior arrangement.

Bytes festivals are held daily during long school holidays - see www.tnmoc.org/bytes for festival times and details.

For more information about TNMOC and trustees, see www.tnmoc.org and follow @tnmoc on Twitter and The National Museum of Computing on Facebook and Google+. A TNMOC iPhone App is also available from the iPhone App Store.

Media Contact

Stephen Fleming, Palam Communications
01635 299116
s.fleming@palam.co.uk

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