Very few innovation are met with immediate enthusiasm, and at first, it seemed that Wilbur Allen's years of work had been wasted: when he tried to find a manufacturer for his new bow, nobody was interested; so he decided to 'go it alone', and make the bows himself. The eccentric wheels of his original patent were more stable than the cams, so were chosen for the early production bow, but the crossing strings or cables near the centre line of the bow tended to be struck by the advancing arrow, so the 1967 model was modified by the addition of 'idler' wheels attached near the middle of each bow limb; these wheels had the advantage of leading the crossing cables a little to one side of the centre line of the bow, thus avoiding arrow-cable collisions.
At first, there was some sporadic interest from one or two astute individuals who recognised the bow's potential, but of officially, nobody wanted them: "ugly", "mechanical", "a monstrosity" were a few of the epithets used. Though in essence this was a bow which was held, drawn, and released like any other, it certainly looked odd. American State laws banned the use of "Mechanical Devices" for bow-hunting, and the rules of the Archery associations were likewise prohibitive of its use for target and field shooting.
However, Wilbur Allen sent a sample bow to Tom Jennings, the technical editor of 'Archery World' magazine (and also a bow-hunter himself). Jennings field-tested the new bow, using a 'trajectocaster' to eliminate human error, and published the results in the May 1967 edition of 'Archery World', using the name by which the bow would always be known:
50% increased speed.
The bow reaches its peak draw weight at and relaxes at full draw to 15% less than peak draw weight.
5% to 10% lighter arrows can be used.
Compound reaches its peak at 22ins., and lets of 121bs. at full draw.
This is the first bow i have ever tested that actually lets down in the latter stages of the draw . I believe this is the most important feature of the bow.
Bow is more stable than ordinary recurve.
Bow will handle arrows of much lighter weight than equivalent recurve.
The bow was also given its 'baptism' when Jennings allowed over 100 archers to try it on a Field course. Every single archer was highly impressed with the speed and performance of the compound bow.
The sequel to this was that Jennings took out a licence under the Allen patent, gave up making recurves, and concentrated solely on producing compound bows. Subsequent events proved him right, but it was years before the bans by State licensing authorities and Archery associations were lifted. Both Allen and Jennings worked hard to this end, trying to persuade the 'powers that be' that there was nothing basically unethical about the bow, and throughout the United States individual archers who had tried the bow brought pressure to bear on the authorities to change the rules.
Meanwhile, there was nothing to prevent the owners of compound bows bringing them along to flight shooting competitions, where they were greeted with interest, and allowed to compete in the bow hunting division.
For propelling a broadhead arrow, no other bow could touch them, and, in the autumn of 1967, standard Jennings 'compound' bows swept the 65lb. and unlimited divisions in the National (Bowhunters) Flight shoot.
Advertisements soon began appearing in Archery magazines:- "Do you want 50% more speed, super accuracy, and relaxation at full draw?" (Allen, in 'Bow and Arrow' 1968).
"The JENNINGS compound bow is the first really new concept in a bow in 2000 years" ('Archery World' May 1969: this seems a bit unfair, as the said bow was a replica of the Allen design!)
Meanwhile, on the previous page of 'Archery World ', the Hoyt Archery Company were advertising: 'New Torque Flight Compensators'.
By 1970, only one or two other manufacturers apart fromJennings were starting to build what were virtually Allen bows under the Allen licence, but in February of that year, the compound bow was ruled to be legal for National Field archery competitions and bowhunting awards. By 1974, eight firms had begun competing for the now rapidly expanding compound bow market.