CYCLOID/RAPID
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CYCLOID/RAPID
Previous trade names previously manufactured by Cycloid Cycle Co. and Rapid Rifle Co., Grand Rapids, MI circa 1889-1900. The Cycloid and Rapid BB guns are all metal and completely nickel plated. Any boy discovering one of these spectacular and most unusual air rifles under the Christmas tree surely would not be able resist immediately running out with it to show the entire neighborhood! There has been considerable confusion about the maker. Dunathan, in the classic American BB Gun book, indicates that A.K. Wheeler founded the Rapid Rifle Company in Grand Rapids, MI in 1898 to produce some version of these air rifles. He reports that they were known under the names Cycloid, Cyclone, and New Rapid. However, at least two versions are known. One version, almost surely the earliest, has a cast iron receiver with cast script letters reading "Cycloid" on the left side and "Cycloid Cycle Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan" on the right. A more streamlined, simplified form, all sheet metal, is stamped, in simple block capitals, as the RAPID made by the RAPID RIFLE CO., GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. USA. It would appear that manufacture began under the name Cycloid as made by the Cycloid Cycle Co. and soon terminated under the name RAPID as made by the Rapid Rifle Co. Perhaps no specimens of the gun are known to be marked Cyclone and there doesn't seem to be any justification for the name "New" Rapid. Dunathan reports that the strange design was invented by Frank Simonds, Chauncey Fisher, and Hugh Ross, and that the company failed before the patent was issued in December 1901.
Aside from the all-metal construction, the most conspicuously strange aspect of the gun's design is an extremely long cocking lever, terminating in a Winchester-style cocking loop behind the base of the metal pistol grip. Internally, instead of the mainspring being coiled around or within the piston unit there is a rather long metal piston completely ahead of the forward end of the coiled mainspring. Two long, chain-like links attached to the hooked forward end of the exceptionally long cocking lever pull back the cocking assembly in a manner similar to a break action BB gun. The poor efficiency and high cost of such a design, in the face of considerable emerging competition, probably fated the design to a life of only a year or two, making these guns among the rarest, and most interesting, of American production airguns.

From Blue Book Publications:


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