Display 2. How It All Began

In the late 1870's Clarence Hamilton, a watchmaker and inventor by trade, moved from Ohio to Plymouth Michigan. There he set up shop in the front window of a local drugstore where he repaired watches. Soon thereafter he designed and patented a metal vane-less windmill and began production in a shop outside of his home about 1880. In 1882 a group of Plymouth businessmen invested thirty thousand dollars, purchased twenty-five acres of land in the heart of Plymouth, built a two-story, 8,000 square foot building, formed the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company and began production of the windmills. The large photo at the bottom with the workers posed outside was taken in 1889.

By the mid 1880's, business was dropping off. There was no real means of advertising beyond word of mouth and transporting the heavy steel windmill by wagon throughout the southern part of Michigan, northern Indiana and Ohio was difficult. In January 1888 the board met to consider closing the company. The motion to liquidate failed by one vote.

In March of that same year, Hamilton, who by that time was in the airgun business (and had already produced a wooden air rifle) approached the windmill company with an all-metal airgun of his own design. He chose to take it to the windmill company because it had all the equipment needed to build this gun: blast furnaces, the ability to make cast iron molds, and the equipment to stamp metal parts. The gun was passed around to members of the board and, according to long time Daisy President Charley Bennett relating the story many years later, one of the members exclaimed, “Boy, that’s a Daisy.” So the little gun was named, “Daisy”.

Legend has it that the board of the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company decided to build the gun and offer it as a premium item to every farmer who purchased a windmill. The gun itself was named and marked “Daisy”. It was cocked by pulling up on the rear sight and loaded by simply dropping a BB down the muzzle. The board of the windmill company voted to “…build the gun for one year or as long as the money lasted”. If they ran out of money before that time, they were going to close the plant down.

By 1895 the sales and popularity of the gun had grown to the point that the company ceased the manufacture of windmills, began producing airguns exclusively and changed its name to Daisy Manufacturing Company.

To continue your tour turn around and move toward display number 3, the oak table and chairs and items above them.