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ORIGINAL LIQUID OXYGEN BALL TANK

Updated: May 14, 2006

Lost in Space Vintage Liquid Oxygen Ball-Tank Set Dressing. Used in various episodes and other Irwin Allen & 20th Century Fox Productions.

Actual Aerospace / Aircraft military surplus manufactured in 1959.

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 cool looking?

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 25 years.

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 evil one.

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 & bolts.

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 6-27-1959."

(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 this piece.)

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!

Value: $500-Up.


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