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My Pop Gun
Jul 07, '21

My Pop Gun

My favourite toy was a popgun it had a black cold metal barrel and a warm tan coloured wooden stock. I loved my gun. I used to load it with gravel, which was much more interesting than firing corks, a childhood scatter gun, which was most effective in use. After all corks have a rather low mass, which means that they didn’t have a lot of hitting power! They tend to lose momentum due to their light density, of course at the time I was unaware of the precise science behind my love affair with the popgun. It was simply a very cool toy!

In the garden we had a number of railway sleepers, Americans called them railroad ties. I used to arrange these ties, when I was three, into various patterns. I would construct log forts to keep the imaginary invader at bay, and the like. My father would come home and find them all over the garden, having left them all neat and tidy the previous evening. The neighbour, a kindly lady once went into the toyshop in Cheriton, Folkestone and asked, “Have you got any toys for a little boy that throws railway sleepers around!” They were halcyon days of blissful innocence.

Still available to buy!

A 1950s vintage toy cork rifle/gun, sadly no makers marks.

Made in England at the start of the barrel in a play worn condition, few scratchs but overall good condition.

History of the Pop Gun

A pop gun (also written as popgun or pop-gun) is a toy gun that was made by American inventor Edward Lewis and uses air pressure to fire a small tethered or untethered projectile (such as cork or foam) out of a barrel, most often via piston action though sometimes via spring pressure. Other variants do not launch the obstruction, but simply create a loud noise. This mechanism consists of a hollow cylindrical barrel which is sealed at one end with the projectile and at the other with a long-handled plunger.


Various types of popguns have been described, such as popguns made of a hollowed-out alder, willow, or elder branch in Texas and in Appalachia in the early 1900s, used to fire a wad of paper.

Similarly an 1864 American children's book advises using a piece of elder with an iron rod as the piston, shooting pieces of "moistened tow". A similar anecdote from Alabama in the early 20th century used an elder tube, oak piston, and fired peas or chinaberries. Similar tube-and-plunger toys, firing small stones, were used by the Plains Indians and Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest, though these may post-date European contact. Similar toys were found in other American Indian cultures.

Commercial history

During World War II, the American company Daisy Outdoor Products was unable to produce air rifles due to rationing of metal, so produced wooden popguns until the end of the war.[8] Currently, the largest producer of American-made popguns in the United States is Kraft-Tyme, Inc. located in Canton, TX.

Daisy Pop Gun

Catalog #: 84663M Accession #: 1978.1028

Credit: Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History


Daisy (Manufacturer)

In 1886, Plymouth inventor Clarence Hamilton introduced a new idea to the Windmill Company. Vaguely resembling a gun, his jumble of metal and wires fired a lead ball using compressed air. Lewis Cass Hough, president of the firm, gave it a try and exclaimed, "Boy, that's a daisy!" The name stuck and the Daisy BB gun went into production. Originally, the toy was used as a promotion given to farmers who purchased a windmill. The gun was success but the windmills were becoming unnecessary. On 26 January 1895 the company's board of directors voted to change the name to Daisy Manufacturing Company, Inc. The BB gun replaced the windmill as the company's product.

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 5.5" H x 30" W x 1" D

Physical Description

Wooden toy gun.

General History

World War II brought hard times for Daisy like many other United States companies. With steel no longer available for domestic use, Daisy was forced to make wooden pop guns. The steel that had made the BB gun was now used by Daisy to make 37mm canisters for the war effort.


Country: United States

War: World War II

King of the Wild Frontier

I was into all things American from the age of 3! I had no TV or Films but the theme song caught my imagination from somewhere. My father and mother encouraged me by provide of necessary props, Dad the pop gun and Micky my novel mount and my Mom who sewed the famous coonskin hat out of an old fur coat!

Davy Crockett

Davy Crockett


David Crockett (August 17, 1786 – March 6, 1836) was an American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier, and politician. He is commonly referred to in popular culture by the epithet "King of the Wild Frontier". He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives and served in the Texas Revolution.

Re-enacting Past Memories

Aged 11 I joined the 43rd Virginia Cavalry Battalion (Mosby’s Rangers) a regiment Brigaded with the 1st Virginia Cavalry of the Confederate High Command (CHC) UK.

It was organised by Marcus Hinton of Hinton and Hunt war game figures.

Marcus Hinton

In addition to creating the marvellous miniatures in the Hinton Hunt range, Marcus Hinton was also a founding member of the Confederate High Command (1962) and the Sealed Knot and close friend of the late Brigadier Peter Young (who was also his daughter Tanya’s Godfather!). It would appear that Marcus was every bit as eccentric as I had been led to believe. Tanya says that he would always work on his figures at night, sleeping all day and rising at around 5.00 pm, when he would have breakfast, lunch and dinner all in quick succession, before starting work (often accompanied by several pints of orange juice). He would often wear a bowler hat, cape and carry a cane.

Apparently the business was run very much as a family affair and as a child Tanya spent many hours de-flashing and painting figures! When her father died most of the items connected with the business were sold off so she has very little in the way of memorabilia but does possess a scrapbook of uniform information compiled by him. Apparently he spent many hours visiting museums taking photographs and making notes to research uniforms in those days long before the internet.

The scrapbook contains uniform illustrations taken from many sources and some are coloured by hand. The images were used to help design the many models both 54mm and 20mm that Marcus Hinton created.

Dargate Wood

Easter 1968 aged 13, my fellow school Civil War enthusiasts Dave Pilcher and Richard “Beans” Sherwood went to Confederate Camp at Dargate Wood, Chatham. Richard earned his nickname by forgetting that you had to open the tin of the can of Heinz Baked Beans before heating it in the log fire!

Historic Polaroid photo taken by John Cullis a solicitor from Elmer End south east London.

It was organised by Barry Chalkley in the middle of the photo below.

John Cullis

And Ex Para Pat Stanton


Jul 07, '21
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