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Thread: Why are they called compound?

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Default Why are they called compound?

    OK just for sake of discussion a cammed bow IMO is incorrectly named, compound. The word compound means "many" like an insects compound eye, so shouldn't the Penobscot multi limbed design really have the name? Aren't what we call "compound bows" really cammed bows? BTW in the interest of fairness I'm going to shoot a newer cammed bow next time I'm at the Den, cant debate against something I have no experience with.....and who knows maybe I'll be impressed.


    The Penobscot design had as many as 3 sets of limbs linked via a continuous bow string.....I'll see if I can find a pic.
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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Here's a pic of a double limbed Penobscot
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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    I think they are referred to as compound simply because the wheel/cam system "compounds" the effort used to pull it back (or to hold it back).
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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default just my thoughts

    When you wrap a pulley multiple times it 'compounds' the force - so you don't have to pull as hard to lift it - a bit intuitive - and possibly why the early compounds were called such...

    There were also some early model wheelie bows that had multiple wheels (weren't cams - they were round not oblong)....so multiple wheels would compound the power delivered to the arrow.... My first wheelie bow was such, a bear whitetail hunter I believe was the model.....kinda cool looking IMO.

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    The whitetail hunter was a neat looking bow. Again not starting something but doesn't a pulley system multiply force? Ya ya I know! Stuck inside with Gunther today and I've about had it with Sesame Street.

    Didn't the bear Alaskan have multiple wheels when it was first introduced, seems like a total of 4?
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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    The bow I just sold was a dual wheel bow (no cams). Each wheel had two different troughs at different diameters that the cable rode on so I guess it could be considered a 4 wheel bow....
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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    The compound my Dad got for me when I was a kid had wheels like that Akmud but the bow I'm thinking of had a set of round wheels at the limb ends and a second set further down the limb....I might be way wrong I don't really pay much attention to the compound side, just thought it might get a good discussion going.
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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    It wasn't an Oneida Eagle was it?


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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Nope, it was an old browning, dude you and I have shaken hands, I know folks think I'm younger than I am but really Rob you know I'm way too old to have shot that as a kid. I did see a bear white tail hunter at the Den yesterday.....it had 6 wheels.

    OH ya I also shot a brand new whiz bang something or other while I was there. Paul was great at walking me through proper form and aiming but I still don't care for compounds.
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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Neat looking bow though Rob. (sorry meant my post in a kidding way but it reads snotty.)

    I should also say I did see some advantages to the compound, they can be held at full draw forever(not really something I've needed to do in the field but I can see how it would be helpful) and you can almost immediately be accurate with one.
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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Don't worry dude, not taken as snotty. They have been making that design since I was a kid but that was about the best photo I could find.
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    I still have my Allen compound bow. Its a weird looking bow compared to what they have now. It still hang in my shop and i will try and take some pics and post them. It was the first compound comercialy sold in the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick P View Post
    Here's a pic of a double limbed Penobscot
    hey rick looking at this photo... my daughters favorite show is Caruso ON nbc... fridays... the other night she asked me about the bow they were using and why did it have the extra set of limbs... I know the Hollywood design may not be exact but i too am curious to the design as is she...

    the kids all shoot youth model long bows and compound so any help you can give in answering their questions would be great..

    Thanks in advance

    Vince
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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    The bows were used by the Penobscot Indians. They lived in primarily Maine. The double limbs do produce a shorter faster bow and they allow for the use of less desirable woods for bow construction. However the Penobscot had access to lots of great bow woods, so the main reason for the design is probably cultural. Most Native American groups had distinctive bow designs some of which are rather bizarre. The Indigenous people of our own Aleutian islands had a very short "cable backed" bow that looked like it had been wrapped up by a big spider.
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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    BTW was talking about this with a friend who teaches physics he things a "Force multiplying bow" or a "Force multiplier" would be more accurate than compound.
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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Resurrecting the thread.....

    Check out this site for some cool photos of old prototype bows - Archery History
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    Rick, they were originally called compounds becaues they compounded every problem involved with archery.
    Alaska Bowhunting Supply use to sell a shirt that said (as best I can recall) "Life is complicated enough, don't compound it. Shoot a real bow, not a wheel bow" .

    Personally (having shot both) I'm a trad bow guy, but I don't care what anyone else shoots, so I bring this all up tongue in cheek. Still like the shirt though :-)
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  18. #18
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Cool link Rob!

    Vance
    I too don't really care what other folks shoot(frankly some of the bickering that goes on amongst archers is even more ridiculous than listening to a hard core dry fly fishermen) but I find myself moving more and more to all natural long bows. They are much more a living thing, almost an extension of yourself.

    On the other side I like the shirt that has a native warrior in silhouette holding up a compound bow. It has the simple caption "What if ?"
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