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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a bit of a hostory buff so I have a question for yall. Does anyone know what the oldest known slingshot is. I know this seems broad so I will try to make myself more clear. I am looking for information on the closest ancestor of the modern slingshot with forks and bands, the missing link you might say. I did a search on the web, lots of info on slings and modern slingshots but nothing in between. I found elusive mentions of an ancient chinese weapon very similar but could not come up with any other info on it.

What of the modern slingshot? Whats the oldest known modern slingshot? Just being hypothetical but could there be a picture in some americana museum some where of a boy in 1890 holding one?. Whats the oldest one you know of?

Bobby
 

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Tex-shooter
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I am a bit of a hostory buff so I have a question for yall. Does anyone know what the oldest known slingshot is. I know this seems broad so I will try to make myself more clear. I am looking for information on the closest ancestor of the modern slingshot with forks and bands, the missing link you might say. I did a search on the web, lots of info on slings and modern slingshots but nothing in between. I found elusive mentions of an ancient chinese weapon very similar but could not come up with any other info on it.

What of the modern slingshot? Whats the oldest known modern slingshot? Just being hypothetical but could there be a picture in some americana museum some where of a boy in 1890 holding one?. Whats the oldest one you know of?

Bobby
There are indications that latex powered slingshots were in Africa long before any of so called modern slingshots showed up. Now having said that here are a couple of links to a early modern slingshot Patents.
http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=lwpkAAAAEBAJ&dq=225,510
http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=_npCAAAAEBAJ&dq=239,865
 

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from what i have researched there is no mention of slingshots before 1850,the invention of the pneumatic inner tube seems to be about the time of the appearance of the catapult. i saw mention on a forum of a newspaper cutting from 1850 where the 'alabama slingshot' was banned in a state of america after a chap was killed with one accidentally.
 

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Brotherhood Of The Slingshot Nutz
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I like your slingshots too Fish. I plan on ordering one from you one day soon.
 

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Tex-shooter
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What I was referring to was that I had heard that it has been written that they came over to the USA on slave ships. Also I have heard that some African's still cure latex sap with sun heat and plant juice. Some of the US African sellers make claims of the slingshots being very old. I don't know any more than that. It would be something if we find out they had them for 3 or 4 hundred years. I have a friend that is an African, but some African history is very hard to research. - Tex
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I appreciate all the great leads, they definately give me a few mroe options to search. You are right Tex shooter any sort of aboriginal history is hard to research, many people clasify any culture without a written language as prehistoric, but there is some hope europeans who encountered them sometimes kept journals and other forms of records so if they did exist in Africa their should be at least some mention of a weapon with forks and a band that shot stones. I will dig around some more.
 

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The African angle is extremely interesting. I've come to think of slingshots as we know them today as products of the late Victorian Era, so it'd be really cool to confirm that they're much older. As Fish noted, it's too bad so many Africans didn't have written records (or records of any sort other than oral) of their histories. Finding out that slingshots of one form or another were in use perhaps hundreds of years ago on the African continent would add a whole new historical perspective to them.
 

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Well, the African issue has to be viewed under the light of the relatively late introduction of uncured rubber into the African continent. We are talking the late 1800s.

Before that, rubber was exclusively harvested in South America. Even there it was hard to cultivate as there was a nasty type of mushroom killing the mono cultures quickly.

So in reality rubber based slingshots can't have been built in Africa before, say, 1890. By that time vulcanization was long established (Goodyear patented it in 1839).

If there was a "pre historical" slingshot, the South America is the only likely source.

Jörg
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
While searching I came across the same book, Aaron, that prompted me to begin my searches with Guatemala, that lead me to these beauties:

http://www.colonialarts.com/catalogue.php?id=20

They are old but I am not certain how old. They are suppose to be from the colonial period in Guatemala. Wikipedia lists the colonial perriod in Guatemala as lasting from the Spanish arrival in 1519 to independence in 1821. If this is correct then the linked slingshots are at least 189 years old and not only that they predate Goodyear's patent by 18 years.

That began my searching the Mayan angle and I located an article from 2006 detailling an exhibit held in Miami of Mayan weavings which also included a collection of slingshots.

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2006-11-02/culture/maya-how-you-haven-t-changed/

The article listed the anthropologist in charge and I believe I am going to email them and see if I cannot find out more.

I am also uncertain of there use. Were they the draw and release slingsht that we know and love today? Or are these ornate handles some sort of sling, like a shortened sling staff perhaps? The ones in the link I provided certainly have all the appearance of a modern slingshot.

I am also reseaching Mayan weapons to see if I cannot find any resources on the web about these slingshots and hopefully their uses.

This little research project is turning out to be a lotof fun. I am sure I am just reinventing the wheel and someone out there knows all about the origin of slingshots. I am hoping that it is all posted in some obscure corner of the web waiting to be found.
 

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it hink those guatamalan slingshots were for arrows not small projectiles.

as for rubber,i believe the main production was from india from latex,i think it was called 'indian rubber'.

personally i think it unlikely that any older slingshots will be found.bit like the wheel it had to start somewhere,no good trying to believe its existed longer than it has. by far the oldest stored energy weapon is the bow.
 

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Ah but That does not explain slingshots coming to America on Slave Ships with Slaves from Africa before 1850. Tex
 
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