Lansing Toy Gun Company
In 1884 a new manufacturing company was formed in Lansing, incorporated as the Lansing Toy Gun Company. Yes, they manufactured toy guns but not just any toy guns they produced the “William Tell” and the “Daisy Hoop Gun”, more on those later. The Lansing Toy Gun Company’s plant was located just east of the Detroit, Lansing and Northern Railroad (DL&N) and the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw Railroad (JL&S) tracks. The officers of the company were Jacob F. Schultz, president; Dr. James H. Wellings, secretary; Daniel C. Hurd, treasurer; Nelson Bradley, Silas N. Williams, Alfred F. Rouse, Usa Forester, E. Edson, E.D. Allen were on the board. The firm employed William H. Sellers to supervise the manufacture of the toy guns at the plant. LJW 8/22/1884
The William Tell Crossbow
The William Tell Gun was a crossbow, three feet long with a hardwood stock and a steel crossbow. The bolt [arrow] has a steel tip and was about eight inches long. The way the bow worked was that a bolt was inserted into the chamber marked b in both drawings. The bow was drawn back and released by the trigger. The William Tell crossbow was considered safer then a traditional crossbow because having to chamber the bolt and constraining the bowstring to a groove prevented premature discharges. It was thought the crossbow would be so popular that it would replace traditional archery in lawn target shooting. Let’s not kid ourselves; this was a weapon, which given the torque on the springs on the crossbow, could do some serious damage. The bow was the creation of Henry G. Lewis, the brother of Charles B. Lewis [M. Quad] a noted humorist.
The trigger action on the William Tell Crossbow
Henry G. Lewis was born in Liverpool, Ohio in 1838 to George and Clarissa Lewis. His family moved to Lansing in 1854. When the Civil War began Henry enlisted in the 6th Michigan Cavalry, Company D as a private serving with his brother Charles. Before enlisting Henry married Miss Harriet Jimmerson on May 4, 1862; four children were born from the union, Helen May, Nellie May, Arthur V. and Harry Lewis. After mustering out of the army, Henry returned to Lansing where he worked as a carpenter and contractor for many years. On June 2, 1894 Henry passed away at his home due to complication from diabetes. SR 6/4/1894
To be continued
 Schultz was Manager, Michigan Stave and Barrel Works, Wellings a local physician, Hurd owned a General Store, Bradley was Cashier at Central Michigan Savings Bank, Williams a Traveling agent, Rouse an attorney, Forester a store owner, Edson, may have been Albertus Edson a Clairvoyant physician and Allen who is unknown.
© Lost Lansing 2014