This highly imaginative coin-operated “Atomic Space Ranger” ride, retailed by Deco Mfg., allows children to take a thrilling trip to outer space. It was created circa 1950 amid the Atomic Age, capitalizing on the growing influence of space and technology on popular culture, including comic books like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. When turned on, its colorful fiberglass form rises up, simulating "blast off." Utilizing a unique pneumatic mechanism rather than the more ubiquitous system of belts and pulleys for kiddie rides of the era, it was described in its print ads as "the only space ride that actually rises on a column of air to give the most breathtaking and realistic 'Zoom Jet' flight sensation in the world!"
Invented in 1931, coin-operated kiddie rides enjoyed almost immediate popularity and quickly grew into a hugely successful commercial venture in America. Billboard Magazine wrote in 1953 that kiddie rides were the country's “fastest-growing business” and “a rare combination of wholesome fun and clever merchandising.” They were so popular with retailers not just for their ability to attract customers with their entertainment value, but also for spurring sales of costumes, toys and other merchandise that corresponded with the rides such as cowboy hats and spacemen. Today, vintage children’s rides like this are extremely difficult to find, especially in such excellent working condition, and they are highly coveted by collectors of antique toys and Americana.
30" wide x 62" deep x 54" highClick here to view a video of this item.