The early appliances invented by the crossbowman for this purpose I
will now describe.
Their introduction may be taken to date from the period when the crossbow
bent by hand was superseded, and they were, one or the other, commonly
employed till the time when the heavy crossbow appeared which was bent
by a windlass.
I should add, however, that some of these primitive methods, notably
the claw and belt, were retained till the close of the fourteenth century
for bending the lighter crossbows carried by hunters, whilst the goat's-foot
lever was used in both military and sporting weapons of medium strength
till a later date.