ABOVE: A force to be reckoned with during the 1960s, the introduction of Machine Robot in 1963 in particular kicked off a period of rapid development for Horikawa. Each subsequent year during the decade saw the introduction of at least one new toy so startling different that it practically reinvented the toy robot category. Hot on the heels of ground-breaking entries like Gear Robot with Variable Speed Control, the Attacking Martian, and the Swivel-Matic and Rotate-O-Matic series came Roto Robot. First turning up in catalogs during calendar 1968, Roto Robo advanced the Swivel-O-Matic concept even further by introducing continuous motion. An equally dramatic departure in appearance, several distinct variations, and its unique actions kept the Roto Robot a staple of the Horikawa line up well into the 1970s.

ABOVE: The Oskamp Nolting Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, was one of the first retailers to offer the Horikawa Roto Robot. TOP LEFT: This rare rendering from 1912 shows the huge Oskamp Nolting Building located at 26-30 West Seventh Avenue. Before moving to this new, larger location in 1911, Oskamp Nolting had previously been located at 411 Elm. Cincinnati's key location right on the Ohio River made Oskamp Nolting's location ideal for both receivng and shipping goods. TOP CENTER : Although selling goods in practically every retail category by 1910, Oskamp Nolting was founded in 1881 as a wholesale entity and was particularly well-known for jewelry and optics. This 1914 postcard shows the elegant downtown showroom depicted in all its Art Deco glory. Among the goods on display was one of the finest selections of Silver available anywhere at the time including goods that wore the company's own brand name. TOP RIGHT: Although national retail giants such as Sears and Montgomery Ward had seriously compromised their market share by the 1960s, Oskamp Nolting Company was still important regionally and offered an impressively broad selection of goods for 1968. A key location inside a strong downtown shopping district that remained vibrant into the 1970s thanks in no small part to an impressive roster of four full-line department stores of local origin helped keep store sales strong.  ABOVE RIGHT AND LEFT: Among the 1968-1969 selection of toys were the Horikawa Roto Robot and Remco's Lost in Space Robot.  ABOVE CENTERr: By 1910 Oskamp Nolting had a thriving mail-order trade. This delightful Christmas-themed postcard was mailed to Miss May Custer on December 14, 1914, to confirm receipt of a Christmas order. Oskamp Nolting's last day of business was Christmas Eve, 1980, sadly just one month short of the firm's 100th birthday.
ABOVE LEFT AND CENTER: An impressive selection of robots populated Eaton's Christmas Catalog 1969. Included were all three original Zeroids, Horikawa Fighting Spaceman and Roto Robots, and Eldon's new-for-1969 Robbie Robot. ABOVE RIGHT: Priced sharply at $2.49, the version of Roto Robot wearing its name on the chest and no red dashes around the chest was shown. Batteries in sets of two were offered for an additional .72¢.
ABOVE LEFT: Priced at $2.99, the gold version of Horikawa's Roto Robot appeared in the 1970 Simpson Sears Wishbook. Founded in 1954 as a partnership between Toronto-based Simpson's Department stores and the Sear's Roebuck Company, Simpons Sears operated 38 stores with an impressive combined volume of $650 million dollars. Five of the stores were brand new and celebrated grand openings during calendar 1970. Just under 50 new catalog outlets also opened in 1970 pushing the grand total up to an impressive 475. Five major catalogs released that year included the Christmas Wishbook and all were produced especially for the Canadian market. ABOVE TOP RIGHT: This bustling Simpsons Sears store in Quebec City opened in 1963. Starting in 1972 some new stores were simply called Sears and by 1978 Simpson-Sears became Sears Canada. During the 1970's Simpson's was acquired by the Hudson Bay Company but the name continued to exist until 1991 at which time all existing stores were rebranded as "The Bay."
ABOVE: This outstanding example of the Golden Roto Robot shows the impressively elaborate lithography. All Roto Robot variations have deluxe backside detailing which is shown to great advantage as the robot continuously rotates. The view inside the box shows the usually missing protective head insert.
ABOVE: Horikawa illustrated the novel flip back head on the side panel of the box as one of the features of the toy. Special switch for Roto-Robots makes turning off the continuously moving toy relatively simple. BELOW: At least four distinct variations are easily distinguished from the lithography details alone. As Roto Robot was offered for at least five seasons starting in 1968 some internal details evolved over the years as well. As with the entire range of late 1960s/early 1970s battery operated Horikawa "compact" robots in the 8.5 to 9 inch class, feet vary from a more traditional red hue to a bright tomato orange-red color.