and appears to have been a favourite contrivance for bending the lighter
kind of military crossbow, fig. 97, p. 151.
The simplicity and convenience of this lever were so evident, that long
after crossbows were discarded in warfare, it was popular for bending the
steel bows of the smaller weapons used in sport or at the target - in the
latter case, till as recent a date as the close of the eighteenth century.
Fig. 43, previous page, shows a seventeenth century small sporting crossbow
being bent by its goat's-foot lever. From these sketches it will be realised
how the mounted crossbowman held his crossbow and worked his lever. He
passed his left arm through his bridle reins when in the act of bending
his bow, or, in the event of his horse being well trained and steady, merely
hitched the reins over the high pummel of his saddle.
Both the crossbow and its lever were fitted with small rings, by which
they could be suspended to hooks fixed in the saddle of the crossbowman,
when he did not require his weapon.
The Mechanism of the Goat's-Foot Lever, Fig. 44.
I. The handle, surface and side view. The handle is 10 in. long. It
is 3/4 in. wide at its widest part A, and tapers from a thickness of 1/4
in. near its swivel end B, to 3/16 in. near its small end C.
II. The fork, surface and side view. A, is the cross-pin on which the
handle is hinged, and B, is the pin on which the claw-frame swings, both
pins being 1/4 in. in diameter. These pins are 2 1/2 in. from one another.
The curved parts, or prongs of the fork, are each 6 3/4 in. long from
the cross-pin B, to their ends C-C.
The sides of the fork are 1 1/2 in. apart inside1 and
3/16 in. thick.
From the bend of the fork near A, to B, the sides are 3/4 in. wide ;
they then gradually decrease in width to 3/16 in. at their points C-C.
III. The claw-frame, surface and side view. This part of the lever swings
loosely on the cross-pin B.
The sides of the claw-frame are 2 3/4 in. long and 3/8 in. wide. From
D to E, they are 3/8 in. thick, from E to F they are 3/16 in. thick. The
claws are 1 5/8 in. apart inside The flat cross-bar G, which connects the
claws, is 1/2 in. wide and 1/8 in. thick.
How to use the goat's foot lever, Fig 43. ,previous page.
Hook its claws over the centre of the bow-string, a claw being on each
side of the stock and just clear of it.
1 This width of 1 1/2 in. fits a stock which
is 1 1/4 in. wide across its grooved surface. If the width of the stock
of a crossbow at this part is more or less, then the width between the
sides of the fork will of course vary to suit.