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See These Websites Within Nichols Cap Guns:
The Antique Cowboy
Cap Gun Paradise
Toy Gunslinger
Piñon Collectibles
Turner-Nichols Service Center
Cap Gun Treasures
GrandDad's Toy Box
Jim's Vintage Toys
The Ten Gallon Hat
Cap Gun Toys

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Lewis W. Nichols, Jr.

This story is about Lewis Woodrow Nichols. This short biography does not attempt to tell his whole life, but just touches on the years that primarily concern Nichols Industries and my memories of my father.

My dad was in World War II and was located in the Middle East, mostly in the Abadan, Iran area. From there he travelled all over the area and told me stories of the area and the people. During the war, he sent money back to his brother, my Uncle Talley. He and Uncle Talley had always been close and planned on going into business together after the war.

When Daddy got home, Uncle Talley had already been working on the war effort, saving money for the future business, had bought a house and now had 4 kids. Uncle Talley lived on Vince Bayou in Pasadena, and the house is still there.

They thought about what to make and first came up with cigarette lighters until the government released a few million of them (surplus) onto the market. Then, since they liked guns, but didn't want to make real guns, they decided to make toy cap pistols.

Uncle Talley, being an engineer and particularly gifted at doing things that "couldn't be done," was going to work mostly on the design and tooling, and Daddy was going to run the business / accounting side of Nichols Industries.

By the time they finally had a design and started making the parts for the gun, Daddy had already married my mom, Phyllis. They worked 24-hour days, 12 for Uncle Talley and 12 for Daddy—and more! Mom used to go down to the plant with him and "break sprue." Breaking sprue meant that she removed the parts from the "tree" or sprue, as the whole thing was called when the parts were removed from the die. Then they would put the guns together.

Business was very good at first because the war had starved America for toys. So the two of them made Silver Ponies, the Silver Mustang and the Silver Colt. Hi Ho Silver! In 1949 they figured that they needed to take a big chance, so they pooled all of their resources and came up with THE BIG GUN, the first Stallion 45. My dad went to the New York Toy Fair to introduce it in 1950, and it was a smash success. That story alone just takes your breath away if you have ever been in business for yourself. Their ship had come in, and they had all of the orders that they could take.

Right in the middle of success, early 1953, my dad felt the calling to go into the ministry and become a Methodist preacher. His dad had also been a minister, and I look on my family today and see a LOT of preachers. So, with Uncle Talley's blessing, we moved to Dallas.

Well, Daddy graduated from Perkins School of Theology, and he and Mom had various churches. (I always heard my dad refer to "Our Ministry," for he and my mom were a team and always supported each other.) We visited the plant, now in Jacksonville, and I really enjoyed those visits. Uncle Talley now had six kids.

Those were the glory years of Nichols Industries and I was always proud of my Uncle Talley—thinking that he hung the moon—and was very proud of my dad. I remember how sad it was in 1965 to find out that Uncle Talley had sold the company to Kusan.

All of my life my dad spoke (almost reverently) of his mom—and my Uncle Talley. The photo of the two brothers that you will see on the "About Us" page really shows how close they were. TWN and LWN. Aunt Ruth was like another mother to me—their kids like extended siblings, instead of cousins.

Eventually both of the brothers retired, my dad to Huntsville and Uncle Talley still in Jacksonville, where he was "The Industrial Founding Father" of the city and once was elected mayor.

Even though the idea of being in the toy industry was extremely entertaining, for I was always the "incurable romantic," being a preacher's son (with my two brothers and my sister) was the greatest life. My dad and mom served a lot of successful charges (churches) and made hundreds of friends for life. When my dad passed away in 1995 (Uncle Talley died in 2001), the funeral was huge and people came from all over the nation. I have always been very proud of my dad and think how lucky I am to have been his son. —MN





Phyllis Ruth (Andrew) Nichols—December 27, 1926 - April 4, 2016. The wife of Lewis W. Nichols, Jr. and one of the co-founders of Nichols Industries. (and my Mom!) Mom was introduced to my dad in Uncle Talley's Sunday school class in Pasadena. This photo was taken at my daughter's wedding. Happier times. We'll miss you forever Mom, until we also join you in our Father's House in Heaven. Jesus said, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
John 14:3




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