|RH and LH Model 100-600 1959 and 1960|
The style of these bow were simple and they were often the first bow of a youngster. In 1959, along with the Parabow line, Shakespeare introduced the 100 through 400 series of recurves. In the early 1960 Shakespeare began collaboration with a gifted bow maker Ernie Root.
|One of the few online photos of Ernie Root (second from right)|
|after leaving Shakespeare Ernie dedicate his time to the Golden Eagle with Phil Grable|
|Golden Eagle was an extension of Root's Archery Research Division|
|Owen Jeffery in 1974 Shakespeare Catalog|
|old Root / Shakespeare bow scale|
used in Jeffery Archery Factory
|Owen Jeffery with his son Tom|
|old Root bow press|
Many of Shakespeares bow designs were sold to Proline such as the Shakespeare Osprey, Condor and Golden Eagle. Often both logos appeared on the bows. Eventually an "S" appeared before "Proline". Proline stopped making recurves and adopted the compound trend. Proline went out of business in the early 1990s.
Big Rapids MI. It was very plain looking back then and there were parking spaces all
across the front. The spaces on each side of the front door were reserved for
Ernie and Dave.
East side of building.
Rear view. The Quonset hut on the left is where all wood was stored.
Rear of building. This was the finishing area.
Marcy Root's string factory was on this alley in downtown Big Rapids.
This was the Shakespeare plant in Columbia, SC. It was home to the Root Archery
Division from October 1971 until Owen Jeffery bought the archery operation from
|try to imagine Bear Archery without Fred Bear!!|
So why did Shakespeare Archery
fail and Bear Archery prosper? One obvious reason was Fred Bear. With his distinctive hat, Fred Bear was a celebrity, an archery innovator and icon. He had the perfect name too. Image if his name had NOT not been "Bear"? Imagine a Fred Lamb, a Fred Dangerfield, or a Fred Smith Bow? It just doesn't sound the same. Bear archery succeeded because of Fred Bear. He was the guiding force behind the company. Bear Archery is one of the oldest archery companies so Shakespeare had to play catch-up to Bear. This was a friendly competition however. Fred Bear and Ernie Root were good friends. They often shared materials and equipment and help each other out. By the Mid to late 1960s Shakespeare was producing bows that equaled Bear in quality and speed. The compound bow was the "beginning of the end" for Shakespeare. Around the time of it's appearance Mr. Root was leaving Shakespeare and their Archery Division was in turmoil. However Bear Archery began investing in the new technology and reinvented itself and Bear never dropped the recurve bow from it's line. So, nearly forty years later, Shakespeare Archery is a memory while Bear still produces quality bows. There are many more Bear bows than Shakespeare / Root Bows available to a vintage collector today. Real vintage collectors acknowledge Ernie Root as a brilliant bowyer equal in skill to Fred Bear. Even the most ardent Bear fan grudging respects the Shakespeare / Root bows. I own Hoyt, Bear, York, Groves, Pearson, and Shakespeare Bows. Personally I love the look and feel of the Shakespeare Bow. I know from experience that they are equal in beauty to the Bear bow and in a speed test, they are more than equal to a Bear as well.
|article from September 1970 BOW AND ARROW|