Have you ever wondered how the world might be if fire
and electricity had never been harnessed? How about
if the wheel was never invented, or vaccines developed?
Many great technological advances come about from such
humble beginnings. If it was not for the invention of
the printing press, mass publication and communications
may not have led to the internet that you are on right
go back in time to when life, on a day to day basis,
was a struggle to survive. The most simple idea led
to, what I believe to be, one of the most important,
yet forgotten, inventions of mankind: the sling.
might be asking yourself; how could such a simple device
have such a impact on history? Well, let’s take
a look. At one time the human race was a genuine part
of the food chain, not simply on top of it. Somewhere,
somehow, the sling was invented. I am not really sure
how the idea was conceived; nonetheless it’s a
good thing it was. The sling gave humans two obvious
advantages: the ability to hunt and defend oneself.
However, little did they know then, it held much more
importance. The sling introduced mankind to the first
lessons in physics, and it got our minds thinking, moving
us faster to world dominance. Necessity is the mother
of invention and the sling was the spark to a firestorm
of inventions to come (a true unsung hero).
use of the sling brought forth the natural study of
its use and effects on the surroundings. These studies
would include, leverage, aerodynamics, wind drag, stored
energy, and gravity.
know early man had spears and they may have been thrown
by hand, however possibly after seeing how far stones
could be cast there may have been attempts to use the
sling and spear together, leading to the atlatl. That
was our first lesson in the advantage of leverage. This
will later be used in everything from trebuchets and
catapults to Stonehenge and modern skyscrapers.
I’m sure it was discovered that the rounder the
stone the more accurate the shot. Surely the observation
of spin on the projectile was tucked away in the mind
and taught as common knowledge, knowledge of aerodynamics
and wind drag that is. With that common knowledge came
the study of lift on an object with high and low pressures
which eventually carried man to the skies and beyond.
Gravity was also made well known because if the stone
goes up it will come down. (Maybe Chicken Little was
to now our ancestors only had atlatls and slings. The
only drawback was the lack of consistent accuracy and
stealth of the sling. If you sling you obviously know
the sling is useless until centripetal force fills the
cords with tension (stored energy) from the weight of
the rock in the center. The harder you swing, the more
the rock wants out, pulling tightly on the strings,
until the snap of the release. How much better it would
be if the sling was always tight and all you had to
do was let go? You could hold your aim and secure your
shot more frequently.
you read on go get your sling, I’ll wait. Now
hold your sling with a cord in each hand and stretch
it as hard as you can. Now have someone pull on the
pouch and let go; the bow is born. The bow may have
been nothing more than a sling stretched on a stick
creating constant tension ready to go at anytime. It
would not take long for the sling to evolve into a bow
string with smaller, lighter instead of spears. The
simple application and development of the bow took knowledge
of: leverage, aerodynamics, wind drag, and tension all
energy, now that’s a lesson not to be reckoned
with, now we are moving up in the world with one exception,
stored energy in weapons leads us to the harnessing
of gun powder to make rifles, cannons, rockets and worst
of all, death in the blink of an eye, nuclear war heads.
you see the sling has carried us through history. The
most important and relevant impact is that the sling
caused us to use our imagination and it still boggles
our minds or we would not have hundreds of members on
www.slinging.org still experimenting with humbled slings.
Slinging is fascinating to learn because it takes you
back to the basics to start all over and rewrite your
own lessons. Slinging Rocks.
Andrew Hanke (a.k.a. dork)