Tag Archives: atlatl

Speed & Penetration: Atlatl vs. Hand Thrown Dart

In this short video, Bob Berg shows why using an atlatl is an improvement over throwing spears with your bare hand. See the difference in speed and penetration!

Where do Thunderbird Atlatls get their names from?

Back in the early ’90s when I first started designing atlatls, I was working a carpentry job in Wyalusing, PA. At the time, I was experimenting with atlatls with rests, and ended up creating one of the first original Atlatl designs in a thousand years, and the first official Thunderbird atlatl. I decided to name it the “Wyalusing” after the town I was working in — it was a word of Indian origin, and it had a nice ring to it.

“Wyalusing” comes from Native American words: “Wigalusing” meaning, “the good hunting ground” and “M’chwihilusing” meaning “the place of the hoary veteran.” M’chwihilusing which was the original name of Wyalusing, prior to European settlement.

Over the next year, I designed several other Atlatls and decided to keep with the theme of naming them after local Indian names — towns, rivers, lakes and such. Soon, the Wappasening, the Tioga, the Hiawatha, the Catatonk, and several other designs were born.

We’ve kept up with this trend for the past twenty years, and several other atlatl manufacturers that came after Thunderbird Atlatl seem to have liked this idea as well, and followed suit.

Here’s a map with all of these places plotted out on a map. The red dot in the middle is our shop, and you can see that all of the Indian-named places nearby were our inspiration. Most of them come from Iroquois names – the 6 tribes that made up the Iroquois Confederation were centered around modern day New York State.

-Bob Berg


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Where does the word “atlatl” come from? Thank Zelia Nuttal.

Zelia

One of the people we as atlatlists owe a great debt of gratitude to is Zelia Nuttal. She was a polyglot who used her mastery of several languages to discover and write about pre Aztec cultures in Central America. She had a working knowledge of Nahuatl the language of the Aztecs who dominated what is now central Mexico during the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerican history.

Zelia Maria Magdalena Nuttall wrote an article in 1891 called “The Atlatl or Spear-thrower of the Ancient Mexicans”. It is very likely that the word “atlatl” was brought into the English language via her publication. Nuttal was born in San Francisco, on September 6, 1857 and died April 12, 1933. She was an American archaeologist and anthropologist, who specialized in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican manuscripts. She traced the Mixtec codex now called the Codex Zouche-Nuttall and wrote the introduction to its first facsimile publication (Peabody Museum, Harvard), 1902. She was educated in France, Germany, and Italy, and at Bedford College, London.

This is sourced from a Wikipedia article. –Bob Berg

Atlatl and Dart Sets, unique, memorable and practical gifts! Order Today!

Are you looking for a unique gift that will tie in history, sport, exercise, science and fun? Well, an atlatl and dart set combines all that and more! Plus atlatls and darts can be used by people of all ages!

Atlatls and darts are a great inter-generational sport. People from youth to elders and everybody in between enjoy atlatl competitions and games throughout the United States.

Thunderbird Atlatl is proud to offer our wide variety of atlatls, darts, atlatl kits and dart kits for holiday gift giving. Order now, before November 30 and beat the holiday crunch. We make atlatl sets that have been tailored to various kinds of atlatl users. We offer tried and true hunting equipment and fishing harpoons as well as target equipment designed for individuals at every level of atlatl competition from absolute beginners to advanced competitors. We also make equipment especially designed for group activities like Boy Scouts, 4H clubs or other youth and adult oriented organizations. Atlatl clubs and organizations abound including the World Atlatl Association and many regional groups. And you could always start your own group.

Our atlatls and darts are truly made in the United States from locally grown hardwood and materials. All of our atlatls have been designed by us and made in our shop. We pride ourselves on our over 20 years of service to the atlatl community.

Atlatls, a sister sport to archery are delightful gifts because they tie in so many interests together into one package from flintknapping, competitions, atlatl hunting, atlatl fishing, and survival skills. In the primitive skills arena, atlatls are often part of workshops that combine fire by friction, cordage making, flintknapping and fletching. Atlatls also have an interesting connection to history and pre-history.

Atlatls require a shorter range than archery and it is easy to set up a little competition area in a back yard or field near your home. Atlatl ranges can be set up in areas as small as alleys between buildings or inside larger buildings with 12 feet or more of ceiling height. You just have to make sure that an errant shot will not damage anything behind your target.

Thunderbird Atlatl Bob Berg’s expertise covers over twenty years of experimentation, learning and teaching throughout the atlatl world. Bob has taught hundreds of workshops throughout the United States and Europe.

Check out our various atlatls and give us a call at 800-836-4520 or email us at contact@thunderbirdatlatl.com with questions.

We look forward to hearing from you. Shown below are some of our atlatls and darts. Our darts come in five, six and seven foot sizes. Fletching colors vary depending on supply.

Thunderbird Atlatl offers a wide variety of atlatls.
Thunderbird Atlatl offers a wide variety of atlatls and darts.
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Getting Ready for Holiday Orders!

Happy Thanksgiving! The Thunderbird Atlatl shop is ready for the holiday ordering season. We will attempt to keep the online catalog updated with inventory supplies. While we are happy to do special orders, we cannot promise all special orders before Christimas. Give us a call at 800-836-4520 if you have a special request.

We usually can ship priority mail through the post office through December 20th and still have items arrive by Christmas. To guarantee service, you might want to try Express mail or go through Fed Ex or UPS.

It’s best to try to place your order before December 15 to assure Christmas delivery. We will also be offering Gift Certificates online. We can email the gift certificates or send them through regular mail service.

Happy Holidays!