Categorized | Events

A Toy Cannon for July 4th

 

Toy Cannon SCHS 1984.061.0002

Toy Cannon
SCHS 1984.061.0002

One of the unusual items in the collection of the Saratoga County Historical Society is a small cannon.  In the years following the American Revolution, it was common to celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence with various explosive activities, including fireworks and the firing of cannons.  Some of the cannons had taken part in battles years before.  Others were maintained by local militia regiments.  However, some miniature versions were given to boys as gifts.

Gift For the Holidays.  American Sunday School Union. Philadelphia, 1840. Accessed at https://books.google.com/books?id=UPIXAAAAYAAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Gift For the Holidays. American Sunday School Union. Philadelphia, 1840.
Accessed at https://books.google.com/books?id=UPIXAAAAYAAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Several patent documents for toy cannons were filed in the nineteenth century, such as this one from Reading, Massachusetts that was filed by George Nash in 1889.

Toy cannon US 410433 A Accessed via Google Patent Search

Toy cannon
US 410433 A
Accessed via Google Patent Search

Unfortunately, these toys were frequently the subject of tragic articles in local newspapers.  Sometimes youths or onlookers were seriously injured.  At the Saratoga Racetrack in 1886 , one boy suffered severe burns after being in proximity to a toy cannon.  The brief article in the Daily Saratogian does not mention if he was playing with it or if he was just standing in the wrong spot at the wrong time.

Daily Saratogian 7.20.1886 Accessed at FultonHistory.com

Daily Saratogian 7.20.1886
Accessed at FultonHistory.com

Other times, exasperated editors attempted to embarrass their sons about their latest antics, such as in this 1876 news item in the Saratogian.

Daily Saratogian 12.7.76  Accessed via FultonHistory.com

Daily Saratogian 12.7.76
Accessed via FultonHistory.com

 

Have a safe Independence Day out there, don’t be too “enterprising.”

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