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Charter Member
Registered: Aug 21, 2013
Posts: 32
Reply with quote  #1 
To my eye, nothing beats the sweeping curves, small riser, and overall classic look of the 1950's and early 60's recurve bows.
When I picture a bowhunter, my mind's eye shows a guy in plaid carrying an old Bear recurve.
I have nothing against longbows, I own some, but nothing says classic archery to me more than this style of recurve bow.
Let's see what you've got!

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Senior Member
Registered: Aug 21, 2013
Posts: 153
Reply with quote  #2 
Here's a couple of my favorites.

PB071445.JPG PB071445.JPG PB071447.JPG PB071444.JPG PB071449.JPG 

From Left to Right on the riser/shelf picture:

54" Clan Gordon Royal Huntsman, 55#@28"

62" Gordon Plastics Inc. Custom, 56#@29"

62" Gordon Plastics Inc. Page, 29#@28"

Gordon Plastics Inc./ Clan Gordon bows were built in San Diego up till 1963 when Browning purchased their bow making operation, allowing Gordon to concentrate on producing Bo-Kore glass for the archery industry. Browning continued to produce bows out of the San Diego facility for roughly a decade.

Speaking of which, here's a 54" Browning Safari 40#@28" produced at this same facility in 1964.

I'll continue "what I got" soon [biggrin]

Jim Picarelli

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Senior Member
Registered: Aug 16, 2013
Posts: 161
Reply with quote  #3 
'59 Bear Grizzly, 62" 45#@28"

Charter Member
Registered: Aug 21, 2013
Posts: 32
Reply with quote  #4 
I will post a couple of mine later.

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Senior Member
Registered: Aug 21, 2013
Posts: 153
Reply with quote  #5 
Well, as promised, here's another great 50's recurve.....

PC041426.JPG PC041428.JPG PC041427.JPG PC041436.JPG 

Here is my 66" Eicholtz Neptune. It's 52#@28" and is a great example of a classic 50's recurve and made by one of archery's great innovators. AND...once again made right here in San Diego!!

(Posted by Hud on August 09, 2009 on another forum and giving credit for the information as coming from Fred Anderson's book, The Traditional Way)
Frank Eicholtz was a pioneer in using composites to make laminated bows. He introduced Howard Hill to fiberglass. Frank's first bows were backed with plastic sign material. He bought the plastic and later fiberglass from Narmco (now Narmco-Conolon). They developed woven fiberglass during WWII. Frank eventually used this product and was building recurves, flight bows and other bows using the woven fiberglass by 1950. Harry Drake set a flight record with one of Frank's fiberglass bows. 

If you do a Google search for Conolon fiberglass you will find, it was the first fiberglass fishing rod. The company is now owned by Garcia Rods. 

Frank Eicholtz was the inventor of the micro-flite arrow shaft. The company died when Frank's business partner was killed in a car accident, and he did not have legal authority to continue the business.

Here is a partial list of his inventions:
1. first to use plastic in a laminated bow.
2. Maple bow laminations
3. fiberglass face and backing
4. graphite to replace fiberglass
5. fiberglass arrow (Micro-flite)
6. Bowlock, hand held release devise
7. the first center shot take-down bow

Frank died in 1983. He was amazing, weighing about 125 - 135 lbs, he could pull and shoot a 120 lbs bow. 


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Senior Member
Registered: Aug 21, 2013
Posts: 153
Reply with quote  #6 
Continuing on.........

Another great 50's recurve and my "go to" bow.

Circa 1959, 68" Custom Bow Company, StarFire. It's 50#@28", smooth shooting and beautiful to boot.

P1281426.JPG P1281428.JPG P1281430.JPG P1281429.JPG 

And as always....made here in San Diego! (La Mesa is a community within San Diego)

Selden Slider

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Charter Member
Registered: Aug 20, 2013
Posts: 415
Reply with quote  #7 
This is a 1960 Bear Grizzly, 52#@28".  Not much different from a '59.  This one was in terrible condition when I received it.  I had decided to refinish it myself.  After a little sanding and steel wool I used a dark walnut stain.  I sealed it with spar varnish.  The decals are in tact as well as the writing.  The string is a 14 strand B50 endless loop I made myself.  The leather grip was rotted so I replaced it with a rubber Sur-Grip.  I have since come by some decent leather and will change the grip soon.   This bow shoots great.  I'm using 60-65# cedar arrows I built 20+ years ago that wouldn't fly well from any bow I've owned.  From the '60 Griz they fly true to the mark.  I'm bringing it to Texas this week to leave at my son's and bringing home my 50's style Kota Kill-Um.  Both bows are pictured below.  Frank

Attached Images
jpeg 1960_Bear_Grizzly_003.JPG (2.86 MB, 6 views)
jpeg 1960_Bear_Grizzly_004.JPG (3.07 MB, 7 views)
jpeg 006.JPG (3.12 MB, 6 views)

Todd Zolkosky

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Charter Member
Registered: Aug 20, 2013
Posts: 50
Reply with quote  #8 
64" Toelke Super Static recurve.PhotoGrid_1374100076746.jpg 


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Senior Member
Registered: Aug 21, 2013
Posts: 153
Reply with quote  #9 
Here is a recent addition to my San Diego bow collection that also happens to have been made in the 50's. 

Made by San Diego bowyer Howard Abernethy, the bow is simply identified as "Custom by Abernethy". The first I became aware that these bows even existed, came from Leatherwall user Skookum, who was a former San Diego bowyer himself back in the 50's for FASCO.

On that forum Fred (Skookum) told me that there were a number of well known and respected bowyers in San Diego throughout the 40's, 50's and 60's. One of which, was a handicapped gentleman named Howard Abernathy. Fred claimed he made fine bows. Never hoping to ever find an example, two became available in my community on craigslist. However, I was 1000 miles away visiting family for Thanksgiving.

Upon my return, I contacted the seller to find that one was still available. It had been painted over with thick green paint on both the belly and back and there were some wood cracks as well......but....would I ever come across another? So, I paid more than I should have, but here are the results.


Here's the sticker that luckily did not get covered over.

After a little scraping.

Upper limb before any work.

An elevated rest awaiting to be removed. (It shot VERY well with it...makes me want to keep it)

Icky green...there could be anything under there.

Serial number 270 / weight 42 pounds

A look from the rear.


Here is the finished handle section with new rug and plate installed.

Here's a look full length.

Tips that now see the light of day!

Sticker area.

From the front. A sight had been installed at some point and removed. Although slightly visible, the holes are now filled.

I wish it had been in better shape, but at least now you can see the work this past bowyer put into his product.

It is nearly identical to the Starfire bow, I profiled earlier in the thread. Side by side, they are exactly the same shape right down to the sticker shape and placement of the serial and weight. The only difference is the length. The Starefire is 68" and the Abernethy is 66". The same materials were used in the tip overlays as well.

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