|By Larry LeMasters
In 1968 Merle L. Persinger received a patent for one of the most unusual toy wagons ever manufactured—the Moon Wagon.
Persinger along with Laverne O. Persinger founded Big Boy Manufacturing Company (Burbank, California) in 1953. The company manufactured round, Big Boy barbeque grills.
No doubt, looking for other uses for round-based things to sell, Persinger stumbled on the idea for a round, toy wagon for children to ride. Since the US and Russia were rushing to put a man on the moon, Persinger called his new invention “Moon Wagon.” One 1969 advertising called the toy “Moon Wagon for Young Astronauts.”
Moon Wagons were sold with 5, 7 and 9 wheels. The odd wheel on each Moon Wagon extended behind the wagon and was called a “wheelie” wheel since it was designed so a rider could lean back (each Moon Wagon had a sissy bar) and “pop” a wheelie in the wagon.Advertisements instructed riders to “LEAN BACK / GIVE ’ER THE GUN!”
Today, Moon Wagons are considered rare and expensive. Recently, one was offered on an Internet auction site for $1,500, which may be a little high. On average, Moon Wagons in good condition sell in the range of $75 - $125; however, it should be noted that Moon Wagons do not appear on eBay often, so, in some ways, it is a Seller’s market.
Vintage, Moon Wagon advertising is also collectible. Color ads from magazines, circa 1970, advertising “Get Off the Ground with the Wagon That’s Round” sell for $35.
Moon Wagons were Space Age toys that resembled flying saucers. Following the moon landing in 1969, interest in Moon Wagons waned, as they became just another fad of the 1960s.