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,
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.