Thread: Crossbow.
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Old 15th February 2012, 04:20 PM   #29
Jim MacDougald
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 7
Default Crossbow

Hi Michael,
You are a goldmine of information. Thank you! In the group of photos you posted, the first photo is of my crossbow, and the rest are of Eric Claude's (Where did he go???? He started this whole thing with the photos of his crossbow.) I am endeavoring to take and re-size some photos showing more detail than my earlier photos. A striking difference between mine and Eric Claude's is that his looks much more "machined", especially the countersunk screws. Mine appears much more primitive. My photo was "photoshopped" by me to be clearer, and in doing so, I changed the exposure and thus the color of the wood from very dark to very light. Next batch will have truer coloration and some better construction detail and evidence of significant worming. Is worming common in wood that is only 200 years old? Also, when researching "knights in armor" I keep seeing reference to the fact that mounted, armored knights were 'killed off" by the crossbow in the 15th century. I had thought that a steel-stringed crossbow, with HEAVY and nearly unbendable steel bow, and a Goat's Foot lever to cock it, would be the only weapon capable of harnessing the kinetic energy necessary to pierce armor. I have cocked this one and it appears to produce an enormous force when the trigger is pulled. (I did that without a bolt in it, obviously). That's why I thought this crossbow was a 14th century "Knight-killer"). In Payne-Gallwey's book, he stated that steel bows created problems because they required Goat's Foot levers to cock, and that these levers caused the bowstring to stretch. He couldn't figure out how to make it work...and he never mentions steel bowstrings. I don't think he knew there was such a thing. Odd, since he published the book in 1903, and should have known of bows such as mine and Eric Claude's. The great mystery to me is that Sotheby's described a nearly-identical bow in 1998 as "17th century, used for firing incendiaries", and this description was copied by Del Mar when they sold a similar one in December 2011. And, when i contacted the Royal Armouries in Leeds, they said they had never seen one like it, but thought it "no older than 18th century, probably used for incendiaries or trap". It would appear the RA and you, Michael, are in agreement. It is good to get this resolved, as neither of the recognized "experts" (Sotheby's, Del Mar) appears to have been right. Pics to follow. Jim
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