War Of The Worlds Wiki
Handling Machine made by Alvim Correa

Handling Machine in H.G. Wells' book

The Handling-Machine are machines that were created and used by the Martians during their invasion of Earth. It has five legs and an appearance that resembles a mix between a metallic spider and a crab, with tentacles and extendable robotic arms. It is pretty short in height, in fact it is only slightly taller than a human. In the book, its main function is to dig, construct, and disassemble things, such as the tripods.

Handling Machine In Other Media[]


Jeff Wayne's Handling Machine. Featuring a man being thrown into the basket

The Handling Machine has a key role in Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. It has six legs, two claws, two green eyes (making it similar to the tripods in appearance) and a basket, in order to collect humans from Earth (Unlike the novel, where the Tripods take this role). It is unknown what actually happens within the chamber in which humans are captured, but the two leading theories are that the humans either get gassed with black smoke or have needles inserted into their veins which extract the humans' blood to feed the Martians.

In the video game Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds, the Handling Machines role changes again - being the Martians' main construction unit tasked with creating Martian buildings (making this function similar like the ones from the original novel). The game also features a new machine called the Electric Machine, which appears to be partially based off the Handling Machine's design.


Superman fights the Handling Machines.

Superman fights the Handling Machines.

In the comic Superman: War of the Worlds, the Handling Machines also make an appearance - albeit with some differences from their original design. The Handling Machines in the comic are used by the Martians to guard humans and other captives in their pens / concentration camps, while the machines themselves are six-legged with claws on the end of tentacles (making them similar like the ones by Jeff Wayne). However, they are not much taller than humans (like the ones in the book) and the Martians piloting them are visible and exposed with seemingly no cover. Furthermore, they do not have a basket for capturing humans as that function is given to the Tripods in the comic.


The Handling Machines also appear in the Dark Horse comic adaptation of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, these machines look very similar to the tripods and are seen building machines and draining human blood, like the ones from the book (which they have basically the same functions).

In films[]

Only two films to date feature Handling Machines, with the rest of the films either not featuring them at all or combining them with the Fighting-Machines, such as in the Spielberg version:

Pendragon Pictures' H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds: The handling-machine in this version is an almost faithful adaptation of the ones as described in the book. It is relatively short, being slightly taller than humans, but it has a scorpion like appearance, instead the mixed metallic spider-crab like one as depicted in the book.

Handling Machine

The 'Handling Machine' (The War of the Worlds: Goliath).

In War of the Worlds: Goliath, a smaller tripod with a different design to the Fighting Machines (its appearance been more like the Martian Taxi from Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds) but with a similar function to the Handling Machine is seen in the Martian Factory. In the factory, they are shown transporting captured humans in cages that hang from their backs. The cages themselves appear to be made of a fleshy membrane-like substance that the Martians can control, as upon reaching the room where they store their captives they use their tentacles to remove the cage from their backs and merge it with larger cages that hang from the ceiling. When they require a human, the cage will open seemingly at their will (it isn't known if the material responds to them through telepathy or other means).

Handling Machines on the attack.

Handling Machines on the attack.

The Handling Machines in the film don't possess a large Heat Ray cannon like the Fighting Machines, but can fire heat rays from some of their tentacles. Furthermore, they don't have claws; their tentacles been used to grab humans and also possessing a probe that enter's a victim's mouth before draining their blood. While their armor is suitable in deflecting gunfire, they can still be destroyed by a handheld heat ray cannon or - as evidenced by A.R.E.S. Lieutenant Raja Iskandar Shah's actions - repeated strikes with a sharp object such as a knife against the screen can shatter it; leaving the Martian pilot exposed and vulnerable.