This is a Buck Rogers XZ-44 Liquid Helium Toy Water Pistol manufactured by Daisy Manufacturing Co. in 1936. Inside the toy's metal body, where the red and yellow lightning bolts meet, a leather sack held the water for this water gun. The gun was also issued in a solid copper-colored finish, which has become the more rare of the two versions.
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.
Collector Michael O'Harro donated this toy ray gun to the Museum in 1993.