This Flash Gordon Arresting Ray Pistol toy issued by American toymaker Louis Marx & Co. beginning in 1952 was made using the same design as an earlier, 1930s, Flash Gordon toy gun also produced by Marx. Updating the graphics on the lithography allowed the toy maker to update the toy at little additional cost.
Fictional space heroes often carried space-themed versions of the Western's ever-present six-shooter or rifle. As a result, for several generations, pretend gun play with ray gun toys formed a central part of many children's imagined space adventures. Exactly how one blasted space enemies often reflected the newest technologies. In the late 1940s, "atomic" guns proliferated. "Laser" guns followed the creation of the practical laser in 1960.
Michael O'Harro gave this toy ray gun to the National Collection in 1993, along with a large collection of space science fiction objects.