Wind-up Motor Space Dog thumbnail 1
Wind-up Motor Space Dog thumbnail 2
+3
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at Young V&A
Imagine Gallery, Adventure, Case 1

This object consists of 3 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Wind-up Motor Space Dog

Mechanical Toy
1950s (manufactured)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

A boxed clockwork tinplate dog. The dog is coloured silver all over, with patterns resembling metal rivets. It has a rectangular body and boxy head, the muzzle is semi-circular. Its lower jaw is movable and is held at the sides by a rivet. It has a red button nose and blue plastic acrylic domes for eyes with small black 'googly' beads inside. It has a hoop antenna and red rectangular flaps for ears. On is back is a rectangle of red plastic and a spring for a tail with a red ball at the end. A key is inserted into front right leg.

The box lid is printed in colours, showing an image the dog on a giant scale in a lunar landscape, with two much smaller humanoid astronauts. On the side is a picture of the dog with arrows showing how to lift and push its antenna.


Object details

Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.
(Some alternative part names are also shown below)
  • Mechanical Toy
  • Space Toy
  • Box Lid
  • Box Base
TitleWind-up Motor Space Dog (manufacturer's title)
Materials and techniques
Pressed and printed tinplate, plastic, printed card
Brief description
Boxed clockwork Space Dog made by Yoshiya in Japan in the 1950s
Physical description
A boxed clockwork tinplate dog. The dog is coloured silver all over, with patterns resembling metal rivets. It has a rectangular body and boxy head, the muzzle is semi-circular. Its lower jaw is movable and is held at the sides by a rivet. It has a red button nose and blue plastic acrylic domes for eyes with small black 'googly' beads inside. It has a hoop antenna and red rectangular flaps for ears. On is back is a rectangle of red plastic and a spring for a tail with a red ball at the end. A key is inserted into front right leg.

The box lid is printed in colours, showing an image the dog on a giant scale in a lunar landscape, with two much smaller humanoid astronauts. On the side is a picture of the dog with arrows showing how to lift and push its antenna.
Dimensions
  • Box height: 8.5cm
  • Box width: 16cm
  • Box depth: 13cm
Style
Production typeMass produced
Marks and inscriptions
  • 'WIND-UP MOTOR SPACE DOG' (Printed on box)
  • 'TRADE MARK / KO / MADE IN JAPAN' (Printed on box)
  • 'Wind up Motor Space Dog, Sparking,Wobbling, ears flapping, pull the antenna to make him go after wound up' (Printed on side of box)
Gallery label
  • Deep Space Doggo You need the right companion for galactic journey. Some of the first space travellers were dogs, so you’d be in safe paws with this metal pup. Wind-up Motor Space Dog Manufactured by Yoshiya 1950s Japan Museum no. B.42-2005 [Young V&A, Imagine Gallery, Adventure, short object label](01/07/2023)
  • 'INPUT SPACE DOG BISCUITS. ACTIVATE WAGGY TAIL PROGRAMME.' [Young V&A, Imagine Gallery call to action](2023)
Object history
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.
Historical context
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.
Subject depicted
Bibliographic reference
https://www.portraitofaplaything.com/work/14-space-dog
Collection
Accession number
B.42:1 to 3-2005

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Record createdDecember 2, 2008
Record URL
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