Updated: May 14, 2006
ORIGINAL LIQUID OXYGEN BALL TANK
Lost in Space Vintage Liquid Oxygen Ball-Tank Set Dressing.
Used in various episodes and other Irwin Allen & 20th Century
Actual Aerospace / Aircraft military surplus manufactured in
Autographed by actress Francine York, "Niolana" in "The
Colonists" episode of Lost in Space.
Found at the legendary "Secret Ranch" in 1993.
First time publicly shown or offered for sale.
Here's another totally unique and very crazy Irwin Allen
production-used artifact. And it's also an actual historic
aircraft / aerospace relic from the 1960's! How's this for
This is an original, vintage liquid oxygen tank from the
aircraft / aerospace industry of the 1960's. Which was part of
the extensive military surplus from every branch of the
service, that Irwin Allen's production design, art department
and set dressing crews raided to utilize in all four of the
Irwin Allen cult - classic science fiction adventure shows:
"Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", "Land of the Giants", "Time
Tunnel", and "Lost in Space."
This piece, along with 90% of the military-like surplus that
has been sold on the Hollywood memorabilia circuit over the
past decade was found at the legendary "Secret Ranch" in
South-Eastern California in the early 90's. The largest
discovery of original Irwin Allen screen-used original set
dressing (along with Planet of the Apes and many other 20th
Century Fox productions) in Hollywood memorabilia history.
They had been considered lost and or destroyed for well over
Note the small photo of various pieces discovered at the
"Secret Ranch" stacked up in one small barn area...that's the
Radio Antenna from "Lost in Space" (which doubled as a
building miniature in the TV movie "City Beneath the Sea")
sitting in front of the legs of the Radio Antenna is the base
to a "Land of the Giants" force-field post. Stacked behind the
Radio Antenna is the Sarcophagus coffin from the first "Planet
of the Apes" film. To the left of the Radio Antenna, is the
sink from Cornelius and Zira's laboratory in the "Planet of
the Apes". And to the right, a large fiberglass set-dressing
rock from various Irwin Allen productions. This is a very
small portion of the items found.
The discovery of and the subsequent battle over, these lost
television and feature film artifacts is reminiscent of the
rivalry between Indiana Jones & the evil Dr. Rene "Belloq" of
Raiders of the Lost Ark. A bitter battle which raged for over
a decade, between two Hollywood memorabilia collectors, one
being James Latta (who has been called the "Indiana Jones of
Hollywood memorabilia collecting" in the press), and the rival
- who shall remained un-named here...but obviously, was the
The "Secret Ranch" was a massive, remote storage facility made
up of five 100 ft long chicken coop barns, which contained
over 500 individual pieces of film and television production
memorabilia, including full-size vehicles (boats, a locomotive
from "Von Ryan's Express", horse-drawn carriages, sleighs,
etc.), miniatures (including the 10 ft. Jupiter 2 and pieces
from "Tora, Tora, Tora"), furniture (including from the sets
of "Apes City" in "Planet of the Apes"), signage, and other
set dressing from hundreds of movies and TV shows. Many of
these historic pieces were unidentified and at any moment
could have discarded or destroyed. Many were just prior to
being discovered, researched, authenticated and in many cases,
set for restoration and / or preservation by J. Latta.
The owner of the location was an eccentric collector,
entrepreneur, rancher and jet pilot, who planned on using
these pieces to decorate a chain of restaurants, long before
Planet Hollywood (who eventually bought the entire contents of
the Secret Ranch, after James Latta's discovery).
The eccentric rancher bought the majority of his collection of
Hollywood memorabilia at the renown "Studio Back-Lot Auctions"
of the early 1970's. After the introduction of televisions
into millions of homes across the USA, and the subsequent
Movie Studio reaction by producing huge "epic movies" such as
the mega budgeted Cleopatra, etc. the Movie Studios almost
went bust, and began to sell off their production-used assets
in massive auctions and "lot-sales". Note: Eventually the
Studios would address the television issue by acquiring
Television Networks and TV Studios.
The item being offered here is an amazing looking, vintage
aircraft / aerospace small approx. 1ft by 1ft Liquid Oxygen
Ball Tank (empty / deactivated). The apple-green colored metal
hollow ball is mounted securely well crafted aluminum
gantry-style base with a series of all metal, quality made
government contracted industrial pipe-hosing, valves, and nuts
The writing on a permanent sticker label on the green ball
states "CAUTION - HIGH VACUUM CONTAINER - HANDLE WITH CARE".
The writing on the metal plaque on the front of the aluminum
base states: "LIQUID OXYGEN - FILL UNTIL GAGE INDICATOR READS
FULL. CAUTION: KEEP CLEAN, DRY AND FREE OF OILS AND FUELS".
The writing on the manufacturer's plaque, above the valve with
the chain hanging from it at the bottom of the pipe-hose lip
states: "CONVERTER - LIQUID OXYGEN - AIRCRAFT - 70 P.S.I.G.
EROPART # 2150 - SPEC 98SC1130-1 - STOCK # (small numbers) -
SERIAL # (small numbers) -ORDER # (small numbers) - EVAC DATE
(Note: The original manufacturing year of 1959... A perfect
year to then become military surplus in the early 1960's, and
then be acquired by Irwin Allen's Art Department for set
dressing. This contributes to the historic authenticity of
It is believed that this piece was used in various Irvin Allen
television series, including "Lost in Space". One assumption
is that it was utilized as a component affixed to the "Radio
Antenna" seen in "Lost in Space", which sold at auction in
December of 2003. This piece was most likely also used in a
variety of 20th Century Fox productions, as well. Including
many of their classic war pictures of the 1960's. Which they
were well-known for.
(*) Many thanks to, Steve Morton for sharing this item with us!