Collection Item Summary:
This wheeled metal Moon Rocket toy is a "tin toy" manufactured in Japan for export to Western markets. The toy's maker, Yonezawa Toys, Co., Ltd., was one of the biggest manufacturers of tin toys, which often carried space themes. In post-WWII Japan, producing metal toys began as a way to tap into an international market for "penny toys" or cheap playthings, but developed by the late 1950s into a industry manufacturing creatively-designed, complex toys with moving parts and/lights that competed successfully with Western toymakers. Toys like this one tapped into the American space craze while also showcasing its battery-powered features.
Using “kanei-kogyo,” or family industries, many Japanese tin toy companies distributed preprinted metal sheets to home-based shops, where families worked together to stamp, shape, and wholly or partially assemble them. The distributor paid these family shops by the piece and shipped the completed toys overseas. Because space themes sold well, many toys received space-age designs or packaging.
The Gewirz family donated this toy to the Museum in 2006.