State Library of South AustraliaState Library of South Australia

Cap gun

Catalogue record

Date of creation : c1950

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Format : Toy

Donated by E Pratt

1 cap gun, silver with plastic wood-look handle

A cap gun from the 1950s. During this era 'Cowboys and Indians' and 'Cops and Robbers' were played, in imitation of the films and television series being screened. Every young boy (and many a girl) aspired to owning a cap gun. It was a more innocent age before the horrors of war were televised in lounge rooms across the country, and parents, or at least the majority, had no problems with this. After all, 'boys would be boys' and if they didn't have a toy gun, they would point a stick or worse make shanghais (slingshots or catapults), which were more lethal than the relatively mild 'pop' of a percussion cap.
By the 1960s, as cowboy television series disappeared from the television screen and as the impact of war was driven home nightly with news of the Vietnam War, cap guns largely disappeared from the toy market. 'War toys' became unpopular with many parents. Toy manufacturers responded. The aggressiveness in boys would be channelled in other directions; water pistols became more popular and ever larger.

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