My father’s bows

I recently received an email from my cousin John Shillinger in Colorado, he had noticed my interest in Archery and wanted to send me my father’s old bows and arrows which he had been storing for some time now. The story goes like this:

My father had been an archery enthusiast for approximately ten years when in 1960 he was transferred within his company to a job in Venezuela, he could not take everything with him and so stored with his sister Norma a bunch of his archery tackle. John reports that they stayed at his mother’s house for 25 years in NJ, then after a move to Colorado stayed with John another 25 years or so.

John hadn’t specified what he was sending, other than to say that he had some archery items and I would like what was in the box. I didn’t want to presume that bows would appear as it could have also been archery tackle, feathers, nocks and things of the sort.

I had been checking UPS everday, even when I knew it was too quick for the package to have arrived from Colorado and sure enough one day the UPS man unloaded a tall box, my heart rose.

I unpacked it right away and found two beautiful recurve bows and a lot of cedar shafted arrows. Thanks John! I drove home that day excited and curious to know more about the bows.

The smaller of the two bows is labeled and is a 35 pound 62 inch Hoyt. Hoyt is still in business today and makes some of the worlds best bows, they are found in target competition circles as well as for recreational and hunting uses. If you happen to see the Olympics in London this year you may see one of this country’s best archers, Brady  Ellison, shooting his Hoyt recurve for gold.

1956-1960, 35 pound, 62 inch Hoyt recurve bow.

Feather arrow rest

Fine riser and very nice leather grip.

The other bow is a 45 lb Drake recurve.  Pics below:

Harry Drake 64 inch 45 lb recurve

laminated riser

Arrow Shelf

I also received a lot of arrows, I received two types, cedar shafted arrows fletched with turkey feathers and early fiberglass arrows – Microlight brand, which curiously where  pioneered by Frank Eicholz.

Cedar shafts with turkey fletchings

This decorative part of the arrow is called an arrow crest.

Steel points

Because the wood is dried and the glue is brittle I will reglue the points, I have a trip to Lakeside Archery today to get proper glue and strings for the bows and to watch the kids shoot at JOAD.

In my excitement when these bows came in I took  the string off my modern recurve bow which is the same 62 inch size as the Hoyt and strung it and shot two arrows at our backyard target. I later found out while researching that I probably should not have done that as modern strings have little to no stretch, the modern bow is designed to accommodate that. Older bows want a more stretchy dacron string, so I will bide my time now, get proper strings, which will most likely have to be ordered, and dream of shooting my father’s bows…


5 thoughts on “My father’s bows

  1. What a wonderful surprise! I love old stuff, especially things with a bit of family history. Those bows are beautiful!

  2. I loved this story of the bows, Chaz; it is very exciting. Kind of like the “Red Violin.”

    And the photos are great. Shooting the shooting.

    Have fun with all the goodies from your dad. Took a long time for delivery, though …. half a century.

    I’ve signed up for the continuing saga….

  3. Hello Charles, it is quite amazing that Norma then John kept the bows and arrows and took care of them so very long. You have them now! I am so glad that you get to not only use them but also enjoy them. It is great..

  4. Dear Charles it is good that the bows felt into your enthusiastic hands and are now ready to shoot. I loved the cabinet and wonder where you have put it. I was amazed by the size of these bows. You are making family history! Mama

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