Ok, here we go…..the maybe one-of-a-kind Bear K-4 “Black Knight.”
As I mentioned in an earlier post on this thread, I have in my collection a most unusual Bear Archery K-4 bow. It’s right handed, features the typical static limb tips and is marked K-4, 55# and 12886. Unfortunately, no decals or silk screens of any kind exist on this bow. At first glance, the bow appears to be from the 1952 to 1953 era. The extraordinary thing, however, is that it has BLACK glass on both its belly and back. I’ve never seen another K-4 like it.
When viewed side-by-side with a 1952 Bear K-4 (left) and a 1953 Bear K4 (middle), it (the bow on the far right) appears quite normal.
In fact, based on the shark-like shape of the rear of the arrow-rest area it would seem to be quite like a 1953 Bear K-4.
But now let’s look at that unusual limb-glass color. As we angle all three bows to the camera, the striking difference in limb-glass color emerges. Again, the bow on the left is a 1952 K-4 with its typical blond glass. The middle bow is a 1953 K-4 with its burnt orange limb glass. The bow in question, on the far right, clearly exhibits its unusual black glass on both its belly and back.
Here’s a close-up look at the bow’s static limb tips from both the back and belly sides. Once again the abnormal black glass is clearly evident.
To be as descriptive as possible, I will add that the limb glass on this bow appears to be what I would call near-black. In very bright light it almost appears to have a deep, dark olive hue to it. That black glass goes right down through the riser.
The bow is equipped with a period-correct bowquiver bushing and everything seems to have been well used all those years ago. The worn leather grip and leather rest pad appear to be original.
The other interesting comparison I wanted to make was to contrast the black limb glass on this odd K-4 (the top bow shown in the photo below) with the brown limb glass on a 1955 Bear Kodiak (the 2nd bow down from the top), a 1956 Bear Kodiak (the 3rd bow down from the top) and a 1957 Bear Kodiak (the bottom bow in this photo).
Admittedly, trying to photograph bows to show differences in limb-glass color is a tricky deal. Angles and different light can appear to alter colors, as can the computer screen on which the images are viewed. But rest assured that there is a significant difference between the olive-hued black glass on this strange K-4 and the reddish-hued dark brown glass of even the 1957 Kodiak. In person that color difference is quite apparent.
So, what do we have here? Any guesses or information on what this bow is or how it came about?
It appears to me that we have a mystery.
If A is success in life, then A equals X plus Y plus Z. Family is X. Work in Y. And Z is bowhunting elk.