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Mechanical toy - Capsule 5

Capsule 5

  • Object:

    Mechanical toy

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (manufactured)

  • Date:

    ca. 1955 (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Masudaya (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tin and card

  • Museum number:

    B.41:1 to 3-2005

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Boxed battery operated tin toy space capsule. The vehicle is in a cone shape, the tip is red and the back is flat. At the back is where there is a compartment for batteries. At the front is also a blue and white band that has red and red plastic ovals which light up when operated. In the centre is a clear plastic window where a toy astronaut sits. The main body is blue with lines that give an effect of grills. At the top are the words 'Capsule 5' written in red. At the bottom are the wheels, the front one allows for direction to change and the back 2 are powered. The box has a plain card base and a printed card top.

Place of Origin

Japan (manufactured)


ca. 1955 (manufactured)


Masudaya (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Tin and card


Height: 20 cm, Length: 27 cm, Width: 17 cm

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 battery operated tin toy, Capsule 5, made in Japan by Masudaya ca. 1955


Tin; Card


Children & Childhood; Dolls & Toys

Production Type

Mass produced


Museum of Childhood

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