By Bob Walsh
The Gun of the Week this time around is the Daisy RED RYDER BB Rifle.
The parent company started business in 1882 as a manufacturer of heavy-duty iron windmills. It was the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company. They were not doing really well in 1888 due to transportation issues and, by a single vote, the company did NOT vote to liquidate.
The original owner and operator, Clarence Hamilton, also operated the Plymouth Air Rifle Company around the corner from the windmill factory. It produced spring-powered BB rifles. In 1888 Hamilton approached the board with an all-metal BB gun of his own design which he wanted the windmill company to produce.
The guns were excellent and Hamilton was a shrewd promoter, spending heavily on advertising. It was so successful that by 1895 the company changed its name to the Daisy Manufacturing Company and switched to producing the air rifle and nothing else.
The gun has been in continuous production since 1940 and has been used in military training during the Vietnam era, as part of their Quick Kill training program. (The Red Ryder comic strip, after which the gun was named, went out of production in 1963.)
Editors Note: I owned a Daisy BB gun as a kid and enjoyed many hours of plinking.