Handling machine (The War of the Worlds)

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This article is about the fictional H. G. Wells machine. For other handling machines, see Material handling equipment.

The Handling machine is one of the fictional machines used by the Martians in H. G. Wells' science fiction novel The War of the Worlds. It is a crawling device used by the Martians to lift and manipulate other objects, and accompanies the fighting machine, the flying machine, and the embankment machine.


The handling machine is depicted making, moving, and assembling machinery, under control of a Martian. Handling machines are described as having five jointed legs with numerous jointed levers and tentacles. They are described as "spider-like" and "crab-like", in both appearance and behavior.

In Jeff Wayne's musical adaptation of The War of the Worlds, the handling machine was the primary vehicle for capturing humans (a cage being placed on the 'back' of the machine); whereas in the 1998 PC game, largely based on Jeff Wayne's album, the handling machine is used by the player to construct and maintain Martian facilities. It has two giant claws for smashing into buildings and 2 much smaller claws which come out of vents by the big claws.

Handling machines appear in the film adaptation H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, directed by Timothy Hines. These machines have six legs and a jointed tail, closely resembling a scorpion.

No handling machine is seen in any other film adaptation, though crab-like walkers appear in The Asylum's modernized War of the Worlds film; but these are fighting-machines, not handling-machines, leaving the tripod appearance absent from the film.

One visualization of a handling machine was designed and built by model-maker Martin Bower.

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