The Sixteenth Century Improved Locks which were
Fitted to the Sporting and Target Crossbows that
In the small crossbow shown in fig. 105, p. 165, the bow-string was
hitched in a sloping notch cut across the surface of the stock. The notch
was protected with ivory to save it from damage by the friction of the
When the bow was bent and the bow-string was in position in the notch,
the broad flat top of a swinging catch snapped down and prevented the string
from escaping. A lever inside the stock interlocked with the lower end
of the swinging catch, and in this way its flat .top was held fast over
A small independent safety lock with a trigger of its own, acted upon
the lever which secured the catch. The crossbow could not be shot off till
this small lock was cocked, this being done only just before aim was taken,
figs. 108-113, pp. 170-173.
The great advantage of this kind of crossbow lock was its safety from
accidental discharge and the instantaneous loose that a slight pull of
its trigger gave to the bow-string. This free and easy release of the bow-string
was, of course, of much assistance in aiming correctly, whether at the
target or at game.
In the crossbow that was used previous to the sixteenth century the
long trigger with which it was fitted, being more of a lever than a trigger,
required some pressure of the hand to force its point out of the notch
of the revolving nut to set free the bow-string, fig. 55, p. 98.