Horikawa was one of the most famous wholesalers of battery operated Japanese toys. From the start in 1959 it carries the SH trade mark, you'll find this logo in the battery compartment but most robots don't have a logo but just 'Made in Japan'. At first, they made Horikawa robots and other space toys. The toy company sold thousands of different space rockets, stations and tin robots.

Funny is that Horikawa sold so many different robots from the 1950's through the 80's that occasionally new variations are being found by die-hard collectors.

The brand Horikawa is a known name among Japanese toys collectors, but many don't realize that they were a wholesaler and not a producer.

Most of the (and other companies) robots they sold were made by the Metal House company, Tokyo.

horikawa robotsThe first generation robots were about 22 cm in height and were wind-up. Later they replaced the wind-up spring for an electric motor which ran on AA batteries (2nd generation). The 2nd generation was very successful, many new manufacturers emerged in the space toy market to produce a variety of robot toys. Horikawa robots became bigger, around 30 cm. and had lots of new action features with complicated mechanics and tricks. This was the golden time for tin toy robots. In the 1970's plastic became a popular material in the 3rd generation of robots. Many tin parts are replaced by plastic.

The company made: Super Space Commander, Dino robots, Robot Astronauts, tinplate Space Capsules, tin toy cars, wind-up moving figures like clowns, Mr. Zerox, Mr. Hustler, Mr. Patrol Man, Space Stations, Gear Robots, Lunar Spaceman, Space Explorer Astronaut, Rotate-o-Matic and lots of lithographed tin toys.

The firm closed its doors in the late 1980s but remains famous for their vintage 1960s toy robots.


Updated: 19 August 2019

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Comments (2)
Paul - October 21, 2019
Hi I have just found my Mr Zerox robot with gold feet after 53 years in the attic. he is in good condition. I can send photos.
If you're looking for value, check out this page: Horikawa Zerox.
Mary - November 23, 2012
Many years ago we purchased a Swivel-O-Matic Astronaut for our son. He is 52 years old now and he still talks about this robot as his favorite toy of all time. Is it possible to purchase one of these?
There are very rare nowadays and thus quite expensive. One sold on eBay a couple of weeks ago for around 170 USD (too bad he doesn't have his one anymore). So you can wait until another one pops up at eBay again or maybe he'll also appreciate one of these Swivel-o-Matic Astronaut posters :-)