18th Century Slinging

This is a piece on the little known sport/weaponry of the slingshot, from Sports & Pastimes of England, published in 1800:

I remember in my youth to have seen several persons expert in slinging of stones, which they performed with thongs of leather, or, wanting those,k with garters; and sometimes they used a stick of ash or hazel, a yard or better in length, and about an inch in diameter; it was split at the top so as to make an opening wide enough to receive the stone, which was confined by the re-action of he stick on both sides, but not strong enough to resist the impulse of the slinger. It required much practice to handle this instrument with any great degree of certainty, for if the stone in the act of throwing quitted the sling either sooner or late than it ought todo, the desired effect was sure to fail. Those who could use it properly, threw stones to a considerable distance and with much precision. In the present day the use of all these engines seems to be totally discontinued.

The only time I can recall stone throwing being mentioned was when a coach heading for Hounslow Heath was warned of highwaymen there. They stopped and the sailors riding on the roof filled their pockets with stones and they repelled the thieves.Also interesting use of the tern ‘engine’. 

2 thoughts on “18th Century Slinging

  1. As you say, long forgotten. I think I once read some vaguely literary mention of slings being used in the middle ages by boys keeping birds away from crops, and apart from that can only think of David and Goliath.


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