The Bow To End All Bows

>The buck that jumped the bowstring was an irritation, but also an inspiration to H.W. (Wilbur) Allen back in the mid-1960s. He realized that a buck’s reflexes could be faster than the arrow he shot at it from his recurve bow.

H.W. Allen in his Billings, Mo., shop with an early version of his compound.
H.W. Allen in his Billings, Mo., shop with an early version of his compound.

Anyone else would have gone home grumpy, but he went home with an idea. He borrowed a neighbor’s physics textbook and got to work learning about the principles of mechanical advantage and stored energy and by 1966 he had worked it out enough that he patented the compound bow (patent granted in 1969), called the greatest innovation in archery since the first crude use of a piece of wood and a sinew string.

His son Douglas wrote, “As I remember, dad borrowed a high school physics book from a neighbor and studied the section on mechanics, paying particular attention to one basic formula: K.E. =

Leave a Reply

Commenting Policy - We encourage open expression of your thoughts and ideas. But there are a few rules:

No abusive comments, threats, or personal attacks. Use clean language. No discussion of illegal activity. Racist, sexist, homophobic, and generally hateful comments are not tolerated. Keep comments on topic. Please don't spam.

While we reserve the right to remove or modify comments at our sole discretion, the Sportsman's Guide does not bear any responsibility for user comments. The views expressed within the comment section do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of The Sportsman's Guide.