Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mirro Satellite Explorer Helmet

Calling all stars! Real out-of-this-world headgear, for spacemenr (and space-women!). Make believe natenna and earphones. One-way-vision shield (you see out, no one sees in). Of shining, satrdust-resistent aluminum!

This is one of my favorite vintage toys, so reminiscent of the Wernher von Braun-inspired helmets popularized in magazine illustrations and books in the early Fifties, it's the Mirro space helmet.

Made by the Manitowoc, Wisconsin firm, the Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Co., the Satellite Explorer Aluminum Helmet By Mirro can be dated back by an advertisement in a parent's magazine for November 1956.

through a blurb describing it's preview at an American toy fair, in early 1957 describes the helmet is topped with a realistic spring communication antenna and a cosmic ray face plate (both of which are usually absent from surviving pieces) which allows the wearer to see out but no outsiders can see in.

Link to forums

Some illustrations later on show an extension to the spring antenna with a flat shape, perhaps a propellor, fixed on top.

My helmet is a typical survivor. The face plate was replaced by clear plastic, the "original antenna" as described by the seller was just a piece of twisted coat hanger pretending to be, and the top of the dome was dented. Unfortunately it's difficult to find these soft aluminum helmets completely dent free, even otherwise pristine examples. But it was at a low price, and it cleaned up well for a display.