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Old November 3, 2001, 08:56 PM   #2
Steven Mace
Senior Member
Join Date: November 15, 1999
Location: Clifton, Colorado USA
Posts: 724

Ian, here is some information I've gathered on the Hamilton Rifle Company and the Model 39 rifle.

In 1882, Clarence Hamilton being a businessman and owner of a small building in Plymouth, Mi. got together with investors and started the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company. The iron windmill business went no were, lasting only a few years. Before the plant and business fully closed, Clarence went in partnership with a friend who had invented an all-metal air rifle. At that time only wooden air rifle existed.

In 1895 the Iron Windmill plant was producing more air rifles then Windmills. While manufacturing air rifles, Clarence had ideas of manufacturing low cost boys’ rifles and began to designs inexpensive methods of manufacturing rifle barrels and rifles. At that time, .22 cal. rifles were referred to as Boys’ rifles because of their size. In 1898, Clarence sold his portion of the air rifle business (later know as the Daisy air rifle company) and the Iron Windmill company. The two company’s move out and the Hamilton Rifle Company of Plymouth, Michigan was born. At the same time Clarence son, Coello completed tool and die training. Two years later Clarence died and Coello took over the business.

From 1898-1945 the Hamilton’s invented and manufacturer good quality affordable .22 cal. rifles. There were 14 different models, retail cost averaging $2.00-$ 5.00 per rifle. Other rifle companies where charging $10.00 and up per rifle. In addition to the rifles low selling price, good marketing and advertising made the Hamilton Rifle Company the most popular and successful boys’ rifle company of its time.

Retail Company’s who sold products such as magazines, costume Jewelry, etc. door to door would use the Hamilton rifle as a promotion, offering a free rifle to those who made their quota. Feed Companies promoting their products would randomly place a rifle in feed sacks. If you where lucky enough to buy the right sack, you got a free rifle.

In the early 1900s, boys who were short on money would unsuccessfully try to repair the worn or broken firing pins and/or locking mechanism themselves, instead of taking them to a gun smith. Due to this practice and other factors, an estimated 99.9% of the million Hamilton rifles produced are in Rifle Heaven, which makes the existing good condition rifles very good collectable items.

During WW II (1942) the company stop rifle production and made parts for the war effort. In 1945, after the war, boys’ rifles lost their popularity and the company closed its doors.

The Model 39 was the only repeating rifle built by Hamilton. It is a hammerless slide action design with a tubular magazine. The magazine capacity is 15 rounds of .22 Short cartridges. The barrel is 16" with a brass liner and a blade front sight. The stock & slide handle are walnut. The Model 39 was made from 1922-1930. In very good condition it might be worth up to $250. Hope this helps!

Steve Mace
After today, its all historical
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