I have always been fascinated by these wallpapers with flying space ships and astronaut papers designed for boys in the 1950s. With their scenes of lunar landings and astronauts charting their progress, they really were looking to the future. Printed in 1954 this paper pre-dates Sputnik, the Soviet Union’s successful launch of the world’s first satellite in 1957, and the first walk on the moon by Neil Armstrong in 1969. This is one of many wallpapers featuring space ships and astronauts designed for boys in the 1950s. All of these are freely drawn and designed to fascinate and amuse as much as to educate. Later papers began using photography for more realistic representations of the lunar surface and outer space regions. These were in turn followed up by more fantasy as each of the films in the Star Wars trilogy had its own wallpaper.

It is interesting to note that boys had a much greater selection of wallpapers to choose from than girls did at this time. For boys, along with astronauts there were also wallpapers with ships, cowboys and Indians, and boy scouts. Girls were pretty much limited to wallpaper with pretty floral designs. Doesn’t seem fair, but this remained unchanged until the 1970s when things began to even out.

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