Supermarket Spaceships

These 1950s life-sized mock-ups helped prepare Americans for the real Space Age.

Before the era of true space exploration, some major retailers built full-scale mock-ups of rocketships and took them on tours around the country. Not yet the NASA-inspired exhibits of later World’s Fairs, these 1950s predecessors were often based on popular TV space adventures, mostly aimed at children. Still, their arrival at state fairs and supermarket openings drew enormous crowds in pre-Sputnik America, then in the grip of rocket mania.

Silvercup Rocket at Kroger

This early U.S. “spacecraft” wasn’t built by NASA or the U.S. Air Force. Long Island-based Silvercup Bread baked up the rocket, inspired by the 1954-56 series, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger. It’s shown here parked in front of a Kroger grocery store, circa 1954.


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