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Ask About Antiques: "It's A Daisy!" Air Guns for America's Youth

Ask About Antiques
"It's A Daisy!" Air Guns for America's Youth

Daisy Outdoor Products is the world's oldest and largest manufacturer of air guns, ammo, and accessories. Each year the company produces in excess of 5 million items, the bulk of which are air guns, the firm's specialty. In addition, Daisy works with a number of national youth organizations to provide young owners of Daisy products the opportunity to learn the responsibility of gun ownership, through shooting education programs and also the excitement of national shooting competitions.
Daisy actually had its beginnings back in 1882 as Plymouth Iron Windmill Company, a manufacturer of windmills in Plymouth, Michigan; however, by the late 1880s the windmill business was changing and the struggling company began looking for new ways to attract customers.
In 1886, Plymouth inventor Clarence Hamilton introduced a new idea to the windmill company. It was a combination of metal and wire, vaguely resembling a gun that could fire a lead ball using compressed air. Lewis Cass Hough, then president of the firm, gave it a try and, after his first shot, enthusiastically exclaimed, "Boy, that's a daisy!"
The name stuck and the BB gun went into production as a premium item given to farmers when they purchased a windmill. The gun was such a huge success that Plymouth Iron Windmill soon began manufacturing the Daisy BB gun in place of windmills! On January 26, 1895 the company's board of directors officially voted to change the name to Daisy Manufacturing Company, Inc.
The sturdy little Daisy BB gun quickly became a staple with American youth and youngsters all across the land cut their shooting teeth on a Daisy. Competition was keen at the time, with guns such as Bulls Eye, Dewey, Hero, Dandy, Atlas and others appearing almost overnight and disappearing just as quickly. Over the years Daisy has continued to improve and expand our line of airguns, putting model after model within the reach of every young shooter's pocketbook and skill level.
In 1958, the corporate offices and manufacturing facilities moved from Plymouth to Rogers, Arkansas where the company has continued to prosper and grow for over 45 years. One gun, more than any other, played a major role in making Daisy the household name it is today. Introduced in 1939, the Daisy Red Ryder has sold over 9 million units, easily making it the most famous BB gun ever built! Today, Daisy has literally become a household word, selling guns in almost every country and on five continents.

Budd A. Moore, Ed.D., is a specialist in the valuation of antique and collectable objects of the last 150 years. If you have a question about antiques or collectibles, you can e-mail him at

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