March 5: The Museum in Washington, DC will open today. Due to weather, the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA is closed.
This plastic "laser gun" toy was made in Taiwan, probably in the 1970s or 1980s. In contrast to earlier toy space weapons that used rays (atomic or otherwise) to defeat foes, this toy speculated about possible deadly use of a relatively new technology first created in 1960: a laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). The clear nozzle of the gun could be lit up with battery powered lights as the dial on the toy's side allowed its owner to choose the level of "laser death." Branding the toy as a part of the maker's "1999 Space Gun Series" would have seemed rather futuristic at that time.
Michael O'Harro gave this toy gun to the National Collection in 1997.
Gift of Michael O'Harro