An overwhelming majority of archery hunters today use a compound bow as their weapon of choice. To many hunters surprise though the invention of the compound bow is relatively new in terms of weaponry, but it is an invention that revolutionized archery hunting.
The first compound bow was created by and American engineer, Holless Wilbur Allen in the mid 1960s. As the story goes Allen was inspired to create a more powerful bow that was easy to draw and hold back after the launch of Hoyt Medalist Pro bow, that showcased vertical stabilizers in 1961. Allen had the idea that he could do it one better and add a wheel to mix.
Being an engineer Allen understood the concept of the block/pulley system and stored energy so he began designing prototype bows using his revolutionary ideas. As all innovative inventions go success wouldn’t come easy. Allen’s first designs using the “wheel idea” worked fine, he was getting what he wanted; a bow that could pull more weight back with less effort but he had issues. First designs had the cables crossing the flight trajectory of the arrow; the end result was stripped fletchings and bad arrow flight.
It was back to the drawing board and what Allen came up with was set to change archery forever. Allen figured out that by using an extra set of “idle” wheels mounted at the center of each limb and set at 90-degree angles to the limb tips. This would allow the cables to cross to one side of the centerline. This worked and the arrows flight trajectory was unimpeded and the beginnings of the modern compound bow were born.
Oddly enough though the hard work had just begun. Allen applied for a patent on his new invention in 1966 but do to federal laws regulated his design because it was deemed as to dangerous. Allen joined up with famous archer and bow manufacturer Tom Jennings to get the laws rewritten. Finally in December of 1969 Holless Wilbur Allen was awarded a patent for his new invention, the compound bow.
Allen’s invention is considered one of the most groundbreaking inventions of hunting history. Today, compound bow have come along ways and improvements have been made, but manufacturers still use the same basic concept Allen introduced to the public over 40 years ago. Allen’s ingenuity and determination can still be seen today on the smiling faces of proud compound bowhunters all across the world.