Fred Bear sold the company to Victor Comptometer in , but remained president. From to today, Bear has changed ownership a half-dozen times. Bear wrote or played a major role in three books during his lifetime. Many thousands of copies of this book were sold for many years after it's introduction. He remained in the hospital for a month, and died after another heart attack on April 27, His body was cremated, and his ashes spread near the AuSable River in Northern Michigan, where he liked to flyfish.
C Wing Archery Wilson Bros. Bear Archery History - Key Milestones - Fredrick Bernard Bear born in Pennsylvania - Fred meets famous bowhunter Art Young in Detroit and becomes friends - Bear Products Company opens in Detroit making archery equipment as a sideline - Fred Bear patents first bow glove - Bear hires Nels Grumley to begin making bows under the name "Bear Products by Grumley" - Bear Products is split into two companies, with Fred retaining the archery business and his partner keeping the automotive business.
The archery business begins using the name Bear Archery Company - Bear produces first Bear hunting movie - Bear patents first bow quiver - Bear opens a new plant in Grayling, Michigan and moves all operations there - Bear Archery produces TV and record cabinets for Admiral Corp. These bows usually have, what appears to be a hand inscription on one of the limbs that gives a serial number along with the length and pull weight of the bow. This serial number works very well for dating Bear Bows from when the first digit of the serial number is the year of manufacture.
For example, a serial number of 5L would be a Bow. Prior to , the serial numbers for all Bear bows were started over every month, making these bows almost impossible to date by serial number alone. The "K" series of serial numbers for example KZ were started in This date that is printed on all bows made between and is simply the date of the patent for a working recurve limb and has nothing to do with the actual model year.
Dating Bear Recurve
In the small Running Bear decal was first and then was replaced by the large Standing Bear decal in mid In , a strike at the Bear plant in Grayling, MI forced a move of all manufacturing and offices to Gainesville, Florida. If your bow says Gainesville on it, then you know that it was made after this move. All Bear bows from until have the " Canadian Patent" date on them. This patent covered the working recurve limb. This is the date of the patent only, and does nothing to date the bow itself.
The Patent date which appears on all Bear bows from until is simply the date of the patent for a working recurve limb and has nothing to do with the actual model year. The small Running Bear decal was first used in , and was replaced by the large Standing Bear decal in mid The large Standing Bear decal was used until when it was replaced with the improved methods of silk-screening the identification on the bows. The silk-screening appeared on all bows by the model year. The small Running Bear decal on the left was used by Bear from until , with the larger Standing Bear decal replacing it in mid and lasting until the model years.
Beginning in Bear began using the silk-screened logo shown on the far right. According to research done by Al Reader of New Jersey, who by the way is considered by most to be the most knowledgeable Bear collector alive, serial numbers work very well for dating Bear bows, but only for the years when the first digit of the serial number is the year of manufacture.
For example, a serial number of 6Z would be a bow. Prior to , the serial numbers for all Bear bows were started over every month, making these bows almost impossible to date by serial number alone. The "K" series of serial numbers for example KZ were started in Even looking at the catalogs is not a sure way of dating a Bear bow, as sometimes the pictures were used for more than one year, even though there might have been changes in the woods used, or the colors available.
Remember also that Bear had to take the next yearns catalog to the printer in late fall of the prior year. This means that bows for that catalog or model year had to be available to take pictures of in the fall before the catalog was printed.
For this reason, you will find bows of a particular year with features of the previous year. A good example would be the few known examples of the Kodiak II Compass Kodiaks with the small "Running Bear" decal which was actually discontinued in late Another example would be the few known Kodiaks which don't have a coin medallion which were supposed to be on all Kodiaks beginning in model year Obviously these bows were made in late before the medallions became available to the factory. Sometimes showing the bow to a knowledgeable collector is the only sure way to get an accurate date of manufacture.
Vintage Bows from Bear Archery
If there were some way to measure the most successful broadhead of all time, I would put my money on the Bear Razorhead, with the Zwickey a very close second. Fred Bear was always the inventor, the tinkerer. But these were very tedious to make and to attach correctly to the arrow. And certainly there was no way to mass-market such a head to the public. Fred was very good at recognizing a market need, and soon started slotting Zwickey broadheads and adding removable bleeder blades in an attempt to discover a better broadhead which could be mass produced and marketed to the growing ranks of bowhunters of the day.
The bleeders which were used in these slotted Zwickeys were very large compared to the bleeders that we see in todays broadheads, but the idea worked and encouraged Fred to continue with his experiments. There were at least 2 different styles of "Airplane-Wing" bleeders used in the slotted Zwickeys of the days prior to the Razorhead. In Fred began tinkering with a glue-on ferrule design for broadheads. These first heads were one of a kinds, but he was nearing completion of a design that would be both good for hunting and mass marketing.
By , Fred was confident enough of his design that he made prototypes of a new "Razorhead" design broadhead, and sent out samples to many of his bowhunting colleagues across the country asking them to try out this new head. If reports were positive, he planned to begin mass-production of them within the next year for the general public. This prototype model Razorhead became known as the "Pinned Bear" due to the appearance of a "Pin-like" depression at the end of the ferrule.
Actually, this was not a true pin, but rather a punch impression which held the blade to the ferrule better.
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Of the prototypes which were originally made, only a very few survived to be in collections today. Be on the lookout for these pinned models, and if you find one you have found a gold-mine as broadheads go. Here is a picture of the various styles of Razorheads over the years. From left, the Pinned Ferrule, the Bubble-Head, the The photo on the right is another , the , the Notice the difference in the ferrule ends, and the vents among the different years.
In , Bear Archery formally introduced the Razorhead to the public. Known today as the "Bubble-Head" by many collectors because of the rounded ferrule tip, this broadhead was an instant success. Good quality steel, easily sharpened and aligned to the arrow, the Razorhead was on it's way to becoming the largest selling broadhead of all time. But Fred found a small problem with this original design.
Bear archery dating !
The "Bubble" on the tip of the ferrule was affecting penetration. So in , Bear began flattening the ferrule tip to improve this situation. However, the vents on the Razorhead remained large as with the original model. In , a new die was made, with the vents made smaller and the ferrule tip even flatter. Lastly, in , the vents were changed again, looking much like a die-cut parabolic feather shape now.
The Super Razorhead was introduced in , and the era of the old lime-green Razorhead came to a close. However, these new Super Razorheads did not have a reputation for holding up under use and lost favor with the masses of bowhunters in time. Finally, in , the Stainless steel version of the Razorhead came out, but it is the old lime-green Razorheads that remain popular with bowhunters today both as collectors, and as shooters.
The auxiliary bleeder blade on the pinned ferrule Razorheads had the impression of a bear head in the vents, complete with ears and all as seen in this picture. The bleeder on the first production Razorhead in had the small pin hole in it, as shown. The bleeders soon changed to look like the bleeder on the right for all production after that. Be on the look out for these different bleeder blades!! Note- Among the rarest of all broadheads is the Bear "Giant". Made in as an experimental head, Fred used these heads on his trip to Alaska that year.
However, problems with the inch-and-a-half main blade caused poor arrow flight which kept these heads from ever going into production and today only 2 are known to exist in collections across the world. From left to right: Fred wrote or played a major role in three books during his lifetime.
Many thousands of copies of this book were sold for many years after it's introduction. This book can still be found in used book stores and from book search services fairly easily. Page for page, this book has my money for being one of the best adventure books of all time. This book can still be found in first edition in used book stores and Internet book services to this day, although prices are starting to climb quickly. Keep your eyes open.
Go back and read my earlier column on Book Collecting for tips on how to find used books on the Internet. But Remember, if I don't have it, I saw it first!!! Intended to be an all-around information book about the sport which consumed his entire adult life, the first edition of this book can still be found on the shelves of used book dealers, and later editions can still be found in new retail stores.
The first Bear Archery Catalogs were no more than folded pamphlets advertising the leather goods which Fred had begun making in a shop in downtown Detroit. These first brochures were apparently produced in I say this because an add was found in the March 9, issue of Archery Review which announces that the Bear Products Company has a brochure available which can be obtained by writing the company on Tireman Avenue in Detroit.
Although I have not actually seen a copy of this brochure, and I know of no one who has one in their collection, there were surely no bows in this catalog since Bear was making only accessories at this point in time. The next piece of ephemera from Bear came in with the issue of a true catalog which details all their leather products and other accessories, but again no bows. Finally, in , a 24 page catalog was issued from Bear Products which listed the first Bear bows.
businesspodden.se/una-inversin-de-novela.php These catalogs and brochures with the name Bear Products Company on them are very, very scarce. Note - The Bear Archery catalogs of were unique in that they were printed in 4 different language versions - French, German, Japanese, and English. The early Bear Archery catalogs were not dated, but numbered.
From left to right are the 23, 24, 24A, and I am missing the The title of rarest Bear Archery Company catalog not counting the early Bear Products brochures would belong to the , followed fairly closely by the Catalog Something happened at the printer that year which destroyed the catalogs before many had been delivered to Bear.
In an effort to get catalogs into the hands of their customers, Bear actually glued covers from onto catalogs of !!!. The catalog is shown on the left, with the rare pictured on the right in this photo. This happened in the Bear factory due to the loss of most all of the true catalogs.