SI Vault
September 13, 1965
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September 13, 1965


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The tycoons of Tacoma, Wash. live mostly in suburban Lakewood, and the status symbol in Lakewood these days is to own, not a mansion or a yacht or a Warhol, but an operable cannon.

David Fogg, an insurance executive, started it five year's ago when, casting about for something that would help him celebrate the Fourth of July, he settled on a muzzle loader. He built it himself, creating an assembly two feet long with a bore of 1 7/8 inches. He followed that with a 2[3/16]-inch bore job designed to fire beer cans filled with cement. With this, his proudest accomplishment, Dave says he can lob a beer can within three or four feet of a stump at 220 yards. His accuracy should improve even more, since a friend is sending him some made-to-order cannonballs.

Joe Long of the Atlas Foundry and Dave and Tom Carstens of the meatpacking family are building 38-inch cannons from three barrels that Joe cast. These will be similar to those used on 16th century French ships. Roscoe Smith, a retired advertising executive, and Norton Clapp, Weyerhaeuser Company president, kept their eyes on the Tacoma waterfront and picked up some very nice 2�-inch-bore line-throwing cannons for about $75 each. Smith says that his cannon, loaded with black powder and wadding, will lob a golf ball halfway across the lake in front of his house. Baby-food cans filled with concrete do nicely, too. The wadding—and all of the cannoneers agree on this—must be made of either The Christian Science Monitor or The Wall Street Journal. The local dailies or weeklies don't do a proper job.


The World Boxing Association has a new president, Jim Deskin of Las Vegas. With Deskin conducting its affairs the Nevada boxing commission has been distinguished for its common-sense supervision of prizefighting and for its probity. In a recent interview Deskin once again displayed these qualities. He conceded that the WBA had been "very premature" in stripping, or pretending to strip, Cassius Clay of his heavyweight title. Regardless of the WBA action, he said, " Cassius Clay is the champion to the people of the world."

Everybody but the WBA knew that all along, but it is heartening to hear it from the WBA's top official.


When Pete Rademacher was training for his unprecedented heavyweight-title fight with Floyd Patterson, one of his campmates was Lucky McDaniel, the teacher of "instinct shooting" (SI, Oct. 20, 1958). Lucky used a BB gun to teach his method, in which the shooter ignores the sights on his weapon and looks only at the target.

For some years after he quit the ring Pete traveled throughout the country with Lucky helping to teach the instinct method. Now he is sales manager of Hamlin Products-McNeil Corporation in Akron, and the company is about to market a couple of Pete's inventions. One is an indoor shooting range with which anyone may teach himself instinctive shooting. The other consists of a collapsible trap house, a table and chair for the person operating the trap, a spring-powered target thrower and 25 targets. The targets look like clay pigeons but are in fact made of soft plastic. When a hit is scored the center of the target pops out but is replaceable. For the indoor shooting range Pete has created a target stand equipped with a bullet trap that catches the BBs and drops them gently onto a receptacle. Ricochets are impossible, and the BBs may be used over and over again.

Though the outfit may be used on suburban patios as well as in indoor rumpus rooms, it is of special interest to the city apartment dweller who would like to maintain his shooting eye. Use of an air rifle outdoors is forbidden in most cities. But a man's apartment apparently is his fortress.

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