Saturday, June 27, 2009

Atomic Ray Gun (Tudor Rose / 1950s / U.K. / 6.5 x 7.5 inches)

While the United States produced a majority of toy ray guns, some of the most beautiful, like the Atomic Ray Gun, came out of Great Britain.

I'm not exactly sure what the designers were thinking when they came up with the Atomic Ray, but the sculpted handle is scaled to fit comfortably in an adult-sized hand -- slightly odd at the time, but perfect for today's collector! The gun features an abundance of rings and molded gadgetry, as well as two non-functional, free-spinning knobs on either side. 

The toy fired a strange suction cup dart with a forked back. A rubber band stretched vertically through the middle of the barrel; the dart would push back on the rubber band and clip on either end. Imagine a tiny bow and arrow an you've got the general picture. The firing mechanism is unique to this gun, which isn't surprising considering how overly complicated it is. But the darts look suitably impressive... 

The gun was also available in a copper-colored version, which is a touch rarer. It was also originally sold with three darts. I bought this from a wonderful dealer in the U.K. named Antoni Emchowicz. He runs a web site called Zoomer Toys, and is also the author of one of my favorite space toy books, Future Toys


  1. This one is beautiful! I'm going to have to start scouring the antique stores!

    Great blog by the way!

  2. Atom Kid:
    If you ever find one, be sure to make sure it's got both knobs -- they can come out very easily and the few other examples I've encountered were sometimes missing at least one. Also, don't worry if the rubber band is missing from the barrel -- 99% of the time, that's the case (cheap rubber never lasts 50-plus years). Replacing the rubber band is easy, and you don't even need to open the toy. Good luck!

  3. Nifty! It's quite the specimen to with the dart and all. I even dig the map of the south pole!

    /there sure are a lot of "atomic" people around here!

  4. Jay:
    Thanks a lot. I was pretty thrilled when I found it.

    And didn't you know? We're a "race of atomic supermen," to quote Bela Lugosi. Wave o' the future! Can even cook our meals just by resting the plate in our laps. 'Course, no one ever wants to eat with us when we do that...


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