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Robotics Inventor George Devol Passes Away at 99

POSTED 08/18/2011

robotics industry suffered a great loss this week with the passing of George Devol, who, along with Joe Engelberger, pioneered our industry.

"George Devol has been a great friend ever since he sold me his patent on a robot manipulator,” said Joe Engelberger.  “Starting with this fundamental beginning, we built the business, Unimation, Inc., which grew to be the world leader in the manufacture of industrial robots.  My colleagues and I will always miss George, not just for his original patent, but also for the contributions he made to growing a company and thence an industry."

The importance of Unimate to our industry cannot be overstated.  As says in its article (one of many about Devol’s passing, including one in the New York Times):  In 2005, Popular Mechanics selected Unimate as one of the top 50 inventions of the last 50 years, putting it right up there with such omnipresent devices as the television remote control, the microwave oven, the jet airliner and even the birth-control pill.

Read more:

Also see: "Dead at 99, George Devol’s Legacy Lives on in Robotics Industry"

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary this year of the first industrial robot installation at a GM plant in 1961, it’s especially sad to see George Devol pass away.  There are more than one million robots installed worldwide thanks to his invention. 

The RIA Board of Directors, membership and staff sends its deepest condolences to the Devol family.