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Mechanical Expedients
Part 2 of 2

How easy it is to substitute for three big fingers, made more clumsy by being covered with leather, a neat little mechanical catch and trigger. I once made one and it worked perfectly. If consisted of a T shaped piece of wood the crossbar of which was held in the hand. The other part was provided with a little hook which drew the string and was released by a trigger. It also had a spring to keep the arrow pressed against the bowstring. With this instrument the cast of my bow was increased and my shooting was very accurate. Here then is a fine mechanical substitute for the drawing fingers which does away with their blundering inaccuracy.

In taking sight we look over the tip of the arrow. However this is big and round so in our improvements we include a peep-sight screwed into the side of the bow.

The greatest fault however with our present style of aiming is that we have no rear sight We use our keen sense of vision on the forward end of the arrow while the proper position of the rear end is only approximated by blindly groping with the drawing hand for some reassuring facial bone or collar button or what not To correct this uncertainty is the easiest thing in the world. All one needs to do is to fasten on his bowstring another peep-sight, movable for different elevations, and then by looking through both sights he can aim as easily as a rifleman does.

Aiming device by H. A. Austin
Aiming device by H. A. Austin

It is evident that the more tilt a bow, has, up to 45 degrees, the farther the arrow will go. Till now the archer has been obliged to depend upon his skill and judgment to find at the various distances his natural points of aim or to tell without them how much elevation he should take. Henceforward he need do nothing so elementary. A device by Mr. H. A. Austin, a consulting engineer who shot with the Wayne Archers last fall, does away with all uncertainty. The accompanying pictures illustrate the method of its working. The principle is simply that of a plumb weight holding an indicator steadily over a drum which revolves with the tilt of the bow.

All these little inventions are perfectly practicable and almost every archer could add some similar ideas of his own.

If the sole object of archery were accuracy of hitting as would be the case if the bow were still used in warfare, we should feel in duty bound to use every help we could find. The object is not only that. If it were we should at once give up the long-bow and use the cross-bow. The object is rather to maintain in the sport the esthetic charm which has distinguished it through the ages, which has always made it courted by men of high ideals and which apparently is consistent only with simplicity. That is why archers are so conservative and why they want to keep their sport in much the same state as it was when Locksley cleft the shaft at 100 yards.