Tik-Tok is a mechanical man who resides in the Land of Oz. The card on his back reads:
|Origin||Kingdom of Ev|
|First Appearance||Ozma of Oz|
== Tik-Tok is made of copper and is only as tall as Dorothy Gale. His body is round as a ball, and his limbs are jointed or hinged to his body with caps over the joints.
He runs on clockwork springs which periodically need to be wound, like a wind-up toy or mechanical clock. He has separate windings for thought, action, and speech. He is guaranteed to work perfectly for a thousand years.
Tik-Tok is unable to wind any of his keys by himself. He becomes frozen or mute or, for one memorable moment, continues to speak but utters gibberish. (The Road to Oz) Tik-Tok is not alive and feels no emotions. He therefore can no more love or be loved than a sewing machine, but as a servant he is utterly truthful and loyal. He has a monotonic, halting mode of speech: "Good morn-ing, lit-tle girl."
Tik-Tok was invented by Smith & Tinker at their workshop in Evna. He was later purchased by Evoldo, the king of the Land of Ev, who gave him the name Tik-Tok because of the sound he made when wound. The cruel king also whipped his mechanical servant, but that simply kept Tik-Tok's round copper body polished. After King Evoldo sold his wife and children to the Nome King, he locked Tik-Tok inside a rock near Wheeler Country and threw himself into the ocean.
Dorothy Gale and Billina found a golden key on the beach of the Wheeler Country and used it to release Tik-Tok himself, who had long since run down and was immobilized. He became Dorothy's servant and protector, and despite his tendency to run down at crucial moments, helped to subdue the Nome King.
When Dorothy decided to return to her Uncle Henry (who was visiting Australia), Tik-Tok wanted to join her. Since Dorothy knew that his machinery would likely not work in a civilized country, she left him with Ozma in the Emerald City. (Ozma of Oz)
When some of Tik-Tok's parts began to wear down, the Wizard of Oz suggested he ask the Nome King for a new set of springs which would make his thoughts more elastic and responsive. A tactless remark angered the Nome King, who threw a mace at the machine man and burst him open, spilling hundreds of wheels, pins, cogs, and springs. The Nome King's steward, Kaliko, swept up the pieces and within two weeks put the clockwork man back together. ("Tiktok and the Nome King")
The Shaggy Man left Oz in search of his lost brother, but after Shaggy had gone Ozma discovered his brother's location in the Nome Kingdom. Glinda transported Tik-Tok to the Nome Kingdom to provide aid, but the Nome King found him first and threw him down a well. Tik-Tok was rescued by the Shaggy Man and Betsy Bobbin and Hank, and directed them to the Nome King's cavern. (Tik-Tok of Oz)
- Ozma of Oz (first appearance)
- Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
- The Road to Oz
- Little Wizard Stories of Oz
Tik-Tok is one of the earlier robots to appear in literature, though that term was not coined until after writer L. Frank Baum's death.
Later Baum published "Tik-Tok and the Nome King," a short tale in his Little Wizard Stories of Oz series (1913); The Tik-Tok Man of Oz, a stage musical loosely adapted from Ozma of Oz; and an adaptation of that play back into a novel called Tik-Tok of Oz (1914). While Tik-Tok is a major character in that latter book, he in no way drives the plot. Tik-Tok also appears in most other Oz novels as a notable inhabitant of the Emerald City, most prominently in The Scalawagons of Oz.
Tik-Tok was a main character in the movie Return to Oz, adapted from Ozma of Oz. In the movie, he is the entire royal army of Oz, ironic considering his generally helpless nature. In an interview which is included in the DVD's special features, Fairuza Balk described the Tik-Tok costume: An acrobat, Michael Sundin, was upside down inside Tik-Tok with his hands operating Tik-Tok's legs and his feet tucked behind Tik-Tok's head. He used a monitor inside this costume to navigate.
A somewhat sinister version of Tik-Tok is a minor character in Gregory Maguire's revisionist Oz novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. In the novel, tiktok is used as an adjective for any mechanical or robotic being. The character Madame Morrible has a tiktok servant, called Grommetik, whose description matches Baum's Tik-Tok; however, this character's speech key is never wound. It is strongly implied that this tiktok servant kills Doctor Dillamond, on Madame Morrible's orders. Though no great detail is spent on the topic, Grommetik eventually becomes independent, and, possibly due to disgust of the things he was forced to do, tries to foment rebellion among the tik-toks.