This very small "space gun" is a tin toy manufactured in Japan for export to Western markets, probably in the 1950s and 1960s. Although Nomura Toy of Tokyo produced this gun, that firm usually specialized in producing robot-themed metal toys, including several versions of an unlicensed "Robby" robot based on the popular robot character from the film "Forbidden Planet" (MGM, 1956). In post-WWII Japan, producing these metal toys began as a way to tap into an international market for "penny toys" or cheap playthings, such as this gun. By the late 1950s, however, Nomura and other Japanese tin toy manufacturers also manufactured creatively-designed, complex toys with moving parts and/lights that competed successfully with Western toymakers.
Michael O'Harro donated this toy to the National Collection in 1997.
Gift of Michael O'Harro