The year was 1886. France had just given the
bright copper Statue of Liberty to the United
States. Coca-Cola had just been invented and was
only available as a syrup mixed with soda water. The
Plymouth Iron Windmill Company in Plymouth,
Michigan, just outside of Detroit, had for four
years been making iron windmills for farmers.
However a premium item, given free to farmers who
purchased these windmills, was about to change that
Windmill sales did not take off as expected and the
company came close in 1888 to liquidating. The vote
failed by one vote - that of General Manager Lewis
Cass Hough. While the "Chicago" air rifle--made
almost entirely of wood - had been made since 1885
by the Markham Air Rifle Company of Plymouth,
Hamilton was the first to develop a metal air rifle.
After firing the gun (first at a basket of red-ink
covered paper and then an old shingle), Hough
exclaimed in the slang of the time, "Boy, that's a
Daisy!" and later convinced the Board of Directors
to use the metal air rifle as a premium item.
The popularity of the premium item was huge. Farmers
were more interested in the "Daisy" than the
windmill-- so much so that the focus of the company
shifted from windmills to airguns. By 1890, the
twenty-five employees of Plymouth Iron Windmill
Company were producing 50,000 guns, most of which
were distributed within a radius of one hundred
miles of the factory.
1880 ║ 1890 ║
║ 1930 ║
The War Years