Holless Wilbur Allen

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Holless Wilbur Allen (July 12, 1909 Stilwell, Kansas – June 28, 1979 Billings, Missouri) was the inventor of the compound bow.

Allen revolutionized the archery industry worldwide with the invention and patent of the compound bow in the 1960s. In the early 1960s, the USA experienced an increased interest in bow hunting. Holless Wilbur Allen was mechanically minded and sawed the ends off a conventional recurve bow and then added pulleys to each end.[1] Allen experimented with a number of designs to eventually apply for a patent on June 23, 1966,[2] and U.S. Patent 3,486,495 was granted to him in December 1969. With the help of bowmaker Tom Jennings, he became the first manufacturer of compound bows. Of the five bow manufacturing companies to retain the right to manufacture compound bows utilizing Allen's design and patent, PSE (Precision Shooting Equipment) is the only survivor. PSE is the parent company of Browning Archery and the former Archery Research (AR).

Allen was born in Stillwell, Johnson County, Kansas and lived in Kansas City, Missouri. He moved to Billings, Missouri in 1967. He died as the results of injuries suffered in a car accident.

Recognition & Awards[edit]

Archery Hall of Fame & Museum: Class of 2010 Inductee, Innovator, Inventor, Contributor to the Sport[3][4]


  1. ^ "Holless Wilbur Allen - Scientist of the Day". Linda Hall Library. 2017-07-12. Retrieved 2021-03-17.
  2. ^ Sung, LokMan; Kesha, Kilak; Avedschmidt, Sarah; Root, Kelly; Hlavaty, Leigh (2018). "The Modern Compound Bow". Journal of Forensic Sciences. 63 (1): 130–139. doi:10.1111/1556-4029.13503. hdl:2027.42/141095. ISSN 1556-4029. PMID 28605023. S2CID 46806116.
  3. ^ "Inductee - Hollis Wilbur Allen - Archery Hall of Fame and Museum". archeryhalloffame.com. Retrieved 2021-04-08.
  4. ^ "Difference Between a Recurve and Compound Bow". archeryhalloffame.com. Retrieved 2022-03-26.