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Summary of Technical Articles on Archery

Velocity and Acceleration of Arrows.
Weight and Efficiency of Bows as affected by Backing of Bow

by C. N. Hickman
Part 1 of 6

In Oct. 1929, an article appeared in The Journal of the Franklin Institute on "The Velocity and Acceleration Of Arrows, Weight and Efficiency of Bows as affected by Backing of Bow." This was the first of a series of technical articles dealing with archery which were written by Dr. Hickman. Since this was the first publication describing accurate methods of measuring the velocity and acceleration of arrows, a portion of the paper will be given.

Having taken up archery as a means of obtaining recreation, and being a research physicist, Dr. Hickman naturally became very much interested in many of the physical problems associated with this sport.

He investigated many of these problems, both mathematically and experimentally. The results were surprising and interesting. One of these problems which was investigated was the effect of bow backing on the velocity and acceleration of arrows, and on the weight and efficiency of the bow.

This investigation was prompted by the fact that he was not physically strong enough to use heavy bows. The efficiency of the bow is a very vital factor to those who are obliged to use relatively weak bows.

It has long been the custom not only among civilized nations, but even among the savage tribes, to place some sort of backing on the bow, in order to decrease the probability of breaking it. Many substances have been used such as raw hide, sinew, hickory, etc.

He began a series of tests to determine the effect on the efficiency of the bow of using different types of backing. The method, in brief, consisted of weighing the bow (i.e. determining the force required to draw it) and then shooting arrows of different weights with it, using a mechanical shooting device to hold the bow. The velocities of arrows discharged from the bow were accurately determined and from these data the efficiency of the bow was obtained. Various types of bows with different types of backing were tested.

The tests were carried out in the Research Laboratory of the American Piano Company. The fiber-backed bows were furnished by Mr. Phillip Rounsevelle of the Archers Company, Pinehurst, North Carolina


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