Sometime after 1865, proceeding the civil war, manufactures who had found success designing and building war weapons and ammunition, made a few changes to their factories and began to build cap guns instead. In a sense, it could be said that these guns were born out of economic necessity. The military focused factories which had been running full force during the war were in big trouble once their services were no longer needed. The toy gun saved these factories and its workers.
The cap guns were realistic, but instead of shooting bullets, they excepted small harmless pouches of gun powder, which would make a small bang when the hammer dropped. Kids quickly picked up on the imagination and fantasy these role play aids offered, and the toy gun became an instant favorite among kids all over.
While the guns themselves were reasonably priced, just about anyone could afford the individual caps, which lent themselves to their own fun. The kids who did not have enough allowance for a gun, bought only the caps, and used a simple rock to set them off. The kids who spent all their money on the gun, but could not afford the caps, adapted to yelling "bang bang" at the sight of a target.
One of the best things about a child's imagination, is just about anything can be made into a toy gun, including a stick, a banana, a block of wood, or when times got really tough, their own finger. Unlike the electronic toys of today, just about anyone could join a friendly match of toy gun play, rich or poor.
During the next several decades, some experts claim toy guns taught kids about the responsibility of gun ownership, helped prepared them to serve their country, and gave them the understanding of how to protect their home and family. But most of all, their presence has offered valuable lessons on communicating with others, sharing, using imagination, and working in a team environment.
Through the next several years, toy guns would evolve from their original wood and metal frames, to plastic, to colored plastics. Interestingly, this toy has helped lead the way to some of the modern designs of adult guns we see today.
For instance, these guns for kids were the first to be made out of plastic compounds, but it did not take long for manufactures to see the practicality of making real guns out of plastic. At this point, manufactures started to making toy guns out of brightly colored plastics and foam, to distinguish their playful nature from their adult counterparts.
While toy guns are no longer the realistic replicas they once were, they are also more affordable, safer, and offer just as much opportunity for kids to engage in friendly war play, learning the very same responsibilities that have passed down from generation to generation. While toy guns have fought off their fair share of anti-gun sentiment, they are still just as popular and fun for kids today, as they ever were.