Manning’s Moonball

Astronomy

Accession Number: 2019.ast.158

Description:

This object is a round inflated plastic ball, 15cm in diameter. It has been painted a metallic bronze colour. On one hemisphere, there is a molded relief of the moon’s surface. On the other hemisphere, there is a writing that gives facts about the moon.

Alternative Name: Ball Depicting Moon Surface

Primary Materials: Plastic

Markings:

In raised letting on the moon: “©7643”
“MANNINGS MOONBALL ACTUAL RELIEF OF MOONS SURFACE DIAMETER 2160 MILES REASON MAN HAS SEEN ONLY ONE SIDE OF MOON IT ROTATES ON ITS AXIS IN 27 DAYS AND TAKES 27 DAYS TO CIRCLE THE EARTH
SURFACE TEMP ON SIDE WE SEE 212° SIDE AWAY FROM SUN 300° BELOW
ITS 239000 MILES FROM EARTH
HIGHEST MTS OVER 6 MILES
DEEPEST CRATER NEWTON 29000 FT
GREATEST DISTANCE FROM EARTH 252000 MILES
ESCAPE ON MOON 1.5 TO EARTH 7”

Dimensions (cm): Diameter = 15

Function:

Manning’s moonball was intended to be an educational toy.

Condition:

Very Good: The ball is in good condition, although it is scratched and marked across its surface. In places the bronze surface has been scraped off, revealing, variously, red, blue, white or silver coloured surface underneath.

Manufacturer:

Manning’s Moonball Co. Incorporated, New Orleans, Lousiana

Date of Manufacture: 1953-1969

Provenance:

This object was likely moved from the David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill in 2008, upon the sale of the observatory. It was stored at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics until 2017, when it was moved to a new storage location in McLennan Physical Laboratories.

Additional Information and References:

Frank Manning is described in this online biography, by Patricia B. Mitchell, which includes an interview with Manning by a short-lived (1974-1975) New Orleans magazine, the Community Standard.

Manning’s Moonball was advertised in the January 1967 edition of the “Boy’s Life” magazine (pg 59).

Frank Manning, the designer and copywriter of the Moonball, sued TIme Ltd in the 1960s regarding the Moonball.