Items of the Jas. D. Easton Archery Company
Out of the shadows of adversity
sometimes come the most successful business ventures. An example
of this is the fact that Fred Bear started Bear Archery after
the plant in which he was plant manager closed during the beginning
of the Great Depression. If not for the adversity of this greatest
of financial disasters, Fred might have been content to remain
in his comfortable factory job. Another even more amazing story
is the roots of the Easton Archery Company.
A 15 year old James Douglas Easton
was shotgun hunting near Watsonville, California one fall day
during 1921 when a shotgun which had been leaning against a car
fell and discharged, striking young Doug hard in both legs. The
next year of Dougs life was spent almost entirely in a
hospital recovering from these very serious wounds. It was during
this extended hospital stay that a friend of Dougs brought
Doug a copy of the newly published book titled Hunting With The
Bow & Arrow, by Dr. Saxton T. Pope.
There was ample time during Dougs
recovery period to seriously study the contents of this fascinating
book, and Doug was a wonderful pupil. Almost immediately upon
Dougs release from the hospital Doug could be found making
beautiful bows of Yew, and finely crafted wooden arrows of cedar,
pine, and other straight grained woods.
Easton wood arrows are scarce
collectors items. Shown here are some early variations of the
Easton target arrows and Easton hunting arrows.
Dougs yew bows quickly
became known as some of the finest around, but it was his arrows
that were really gaining him recognition. By 1923, Doug had developed
a new 4 point footed target arrow that was quickly recognized
as the top tournament arrow in the country.
Two years after Dougs nearly
fatal hunting accident, while shooting a round of archery at
Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, the now 17 year old Doug was
approached by a distinguished older gentleman who commented very
positively on Dougs craftsmanship. Doug told the gentleman
of how he had learned his skill by reading a book written by
Saxton Pope. Much to Dougs surprise, the older gentleman
then extended his hand and introduced himself as Dr. Pope!
James Douglas Easton
shown in front of his Los Angeles location around 1940.
The success of Dougs fledgling
archery manufacturing business continued to grow until in 1932,
when his business had outgrown his Watsonville location and he
moved to Los Angeles. During this time in Los Angeles, Doug became
very good friends with the famous bowhunter and Hollywood actor,
Howard Hill. Howard lived just a few blocks down the street from
Dougs business. Howard and almost every other serious archer
were now shooting Dougs wooden arrows.
*Notice the grain
of the pig skin grip, which was a trademark of many Jas. D. Easton
During his time in Los Angeles
Doug also became friends with some of the Hollywood elite. This
very rare Easton take-apart bow made of Osage and using horn
nocks, was made for famous Hollywood playwright John Willard
The diamond shaped logo of
Jas. D. Easton Archery Company was stamped into the bow riser,
and actually wraps around the bow.
The broadhead on the top is
the Easton Forged (1932) and the broadhead on the bottom is the
very rare Easton Barbed Aluminum Ferrule (1938).
Doug also decided to try his
hand at making broadheads for his archery business during the
year 1932. The broadhead design decided upon by Doug was a forged
design, which today rate as a very scarce head for collectors
and can be found in both a Round Shoulder variety (shown in photo)
and a Bat-Winged Shoulder variety (not shown). In 1938, Doug
experimented with another broadhead design, which used an aluminum
ferule, and a barbed blade. Known to collectors as the Easton
Barbed Aluminum, this broadhead rates as one of the rarest of
all broadheads known to collectors.
In this photo Doug Easton
inspects some of his high quality shafting prior to the fletching
process. This photo was probably taken in the late-1950s.
1939 saw Doug move to yet another
larger facility in Los Angeles. It was at this new facility that
Doug began his search for an alternative to the wooden arrow.
One of the first set of metal arrows made by Doug during the
first year in this new building was given to local champion archer
Larry Hughes. Larry shot these arrows very successfully in tournaments
until 1941, when Larry won the National Championship with these
new metal arrows. However, World War II was now in full force,
and aluminum was no longer available for anything that was not
war related. This effectively ended Dougs efforts to perfect
the new arrow until the end of the war.
By 1946, the war had been over
for almost a full year, and aluminum was now available to the
public again in quantities sufficient enough for Doug to begin
his testing again.. It didnt take long for Doug to develop
a new special hardening and thermal process that resulted in
the first Easton trademarked aluminum arrow shaft, the 24SRT-X.
By 1953, Doug was confident of
his ability to make a living in this business and decided that
it was time to incorporate the business under the name of Jas.D.
Amazingly, Doug ran this growing
business by himself with the help of his wife and young son James
and some occasional part-time help, until 1956 when he hired
his first two full time employees. The success of the 24SRT-X
was so quick in coming that by 1957 Easton Archery was already
running short of space, and moved again, this time to a new 10,000
square building in Van Nuys.
Never one to rest on his laurels,
Doug continued to experiment with a yet even better aluminum
arrow shaft. In 1958, this effort resulted in the introduction
of the best selling arrow shaft of all time, the XX75. Again
in 1966, Dougs work brought about another new innovation
in arrow shafts, the popular X7.
Doug remained active in the business
bearing his name until his death on December 31, 1972, a full
fifty years after making his first yew bow and cedar arrow after
reading a book given to him by a friend during a hospital stay.
Timeline of the Jas.
D. Easton Archery Company
1921 Doug seriously wounded
in shotgun hunting accident
1941 Larry Hughes wins the
National Championship using the new Easton aluminum arrows
1946 24SRT-X shaft introduced
1948 Easton now makes 16 different
sizes of aluminum arrow shafts
1953 Easton incorporates as
Jas. D. Easton Archery Company
1956 Easton hires first 2
1957 Easton moved to Van Nuys,
1958 XX75 arrow shaft developed
1960 Dougs son Jim joins
the company after earning a degree at UCLA
1966 X7 arrow shaft developed
1968 New 56,000 square foot
facility opened in Van Nuys
1972 Doug Easton passes away
on December 31
1980 Opened new facility in
Salt Lake City, UT
1981 Aluminum / Carbon (A/C)
shafts are developed
1991 XX78 shafts developed
1996 X10 shafts developed