Blast Off! A Collection of Space-Themed Banks
10 artifacts in this set
In the years before the space race of the late 1950s, many Americans viewed outer space exploration as fantasy and science fiction. Whimsical space toys based on popular movies, radio and television shows, and comics featured futuristic robots, ray guns, and spaceships. This mechanical rocket bank from about 1951 resembles those early comic-book-style space vehicles.
This "Atomic" bank made about 1949 has little to do with atomic power. In the years immediately following the Second World War, the word "atomic" held a mysterious and somewhat magical meaning for Americans--though few understood how atomic power actually worked. Merchants and manufacturers used the word to pique customer's interest and sell all types of products.
The Astro Missile Coin Bank--one of a series of space-themed banks produced by Astro Manufacturing, Inc.--drew upon Americans' interest in outer space during the mid-20th century. This advertising poster, geared toward bank managers, described the many reasons why offering these mechanical banks to customers and clients provided benefits back to the local bank.
This cuff links and tie clasp set was produced by Astro Manufacturing, the producer of the full-size mechanical version of the bank depicted on them. This so-called Astro Missile Coin Bank, like the other banks produced by this company, drew upon Americans’ interest in outer space during the mid-20th century. This set was a free gift when a bank placed its order.
Many early space toys depicted outer space as a futuristic fantasy world. But when space travel became possible, these toys became more realistic-looking. This bank, made about 1961, resembles rocket ships that launched people into orbit. It also commemorates the six U.S. astronauts chosen to be the first Americans in space.