It turns out the Cody Firearms Museum does not only collect real guns, it also has at least one toy gun. A Thompson Submachine BB Gun, to be more specific.
A Tommy gun (its more popular name) developed notoriety through popular culture as the typical gangster gun.
It was invented in the early 1900s to be used in the trenches towards the latter half of World War I, but it was made too late to be of any use. The Tommy gun was then used by mobsters during the Prohibition era in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and thereafter would always be known as a gangster gun. As such, it was a popular gun in video and arcade games.
The Tommy BB gun in the Cody Firearms Museum is a Feltman Pneumatic Machine Gun. It was used for an arcade shooting gallery game called the Shooting Star Target. Ashley Hlebinsky, the curator of the Cody Firearms Museum, describes the game.
“This Tommy gun would be aimed at a target that was a white piece of paper with a blue circle and red star and you would try to shoot at the star,” she said.
This individual Tommy gun was used in Coney Island, New York sometime in the 1920s.
Museum Minute is a series co-produced with Wyoming Public Media (WPM). A new minute can be heard every Thursday morning at 6:49 a.m. on WPM.