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Mechanical toy - Man Made Satellite

Man Made Satellite

  • Object:

    Mechanical toy

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (manufactured)

  • Date:

    1955-1957 (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Yonezawa Toys Ltd (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tin lithograph

  • Museum number:

    B.54:1 to 3-2005

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Boxed orange spherical tin satellite toy, the bottom is flattened and has wheels. The friction mechanism is stored inside. There is white writing on the outside which reads Man made satellite, S-2. There are four silver springs that stick out on either side and black knobs. There are windows on either side with pictures of a dog (Laika). The box has a plain card bottom and a printed top. The top has an image of a child riding a satellite, on two side are the identical image of a boy watching the satellite move across a table. On the opposite sides read Man mane Satellite Friction in Yellow and red.

Place of Origin

Japan (manufactured)


1955-1957 (manufactured)


Yonezawa Toys Ltd (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Tin lithograph

Object history note

This object was acquired for the V&A Museum of Childhood's exhibition Space Age: Exploration, Design and Popular Culture, which opened on 22nd November 2007. It was bought at Christie's in November 2005 as part of a collection of robots and space toys. The collector, Paul Lips, ran an antique toy shop in Milan from the early 1990s, where he became particularly interested in space toys. The collection covered what he believed to be their golden age: 1955 to 1965.

After the Second World War, Japan became the pre-eminent manufacturer of tin toys through direct financial support from the United States for its toy industry, and through preferential access to US toy markets. Importantly, Japanese manufacturers were able to perfect small battery-powered motors, which gave Japanese toys a superior range of movements. One of the most celebrated subjects expressed in tin toys is space and space travel. Many highly imaginative toys were produced in the era of the Space Age (1957-1972), inspired by the widespread optimism of the times, and by a fresh public appetite for all things space.

Descriptive line

Boxed friction powered toy tin Satellite, made by Yonezawa in Japan Ca. 1955.






Children & Childhood; Dolls & Toys

Production Type

Mass produced


Museum of Childhood

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