Darts is an indoor game that gained widespread popularity in England in the 19th and 20th centuries. This competitive and challenging game comes with many stories concerning its history.
So when was darts inverted? The game of darts has been around for more than 700 years. There are a lot of references to when the game of darts was invented. One source claims that darts was developed as a game in England during the medieval era in the 1300s. The other states that darts history dates back to the medieval times where England soldiers used darts, which were more like javelins, to pass time.
Who Invented Darts?
Well, there are numerous arguments when it comes to the person who invented the first darts. Most references on the internet give credit to Brian Gamlin, an English carpenter from Bury, Lancashire. Gamlin is believed to have created the 20 numbering sequence in 1896. He made his dart targets difficult for punters to hit.
Nevertheless, other sources that darts were in fact invented by a man named Tomas William Buckle. Tomas was a dartboard maker and a wire-maker and is credited for creating the Yorkshire dartboard. Patrick Chaplin supports this claim by saying that Tomas invented the dartboard numbering system in 1912.
Nonetheless, it is important to note that darts has existed since medieval times. The oldest origin of darts dates back to England in the 14th century where soldiers threw arrowheads to target overturned wine barrels to improve their throwing skills.
Of course, the darts used in those times are quite different from the modern darts. The soldiers mostly used javelins, which are bigger than the darts used today. With so many versions of the history of darts, we cannot deny that numerous individuals and entities have greatly contributed to the game of darts over time.
What Were the First Dartboards Made Of?
Originally, dartboards were constructed from solid wood, which was cut from the blocks of the elm tree. Carpenters and wire-markers made the dashboards and then supplied them to the local bars in exchange for cash or beer. Since the boards had segments, they were painted to ensure consistency.
The dartboards made from elm tree developed holes faster and pub owners had to soak them overnight to close the holes. It was until the 1920s that dartboard manufacturing companies began to open in England.
Over the years, there have been many regional variations of the dartboards, most of which are no longer in existence. Each region in England had its board design. Some of the regional dashboards included Yorkshire, London 5’s, London (clock), Stafford, IPSWICH 5’s, Grimsby, Quadro 240, Turnbridge, Kent (Doubles), Irish Black, Old Style London, and Manchester.
The most common was the Yorkshire dartboard which comprised of 20 scoring areas, a doubles ring, and a single bullseye. Although not in existence, the Quad 240 was popular in TV tournaments. This dartboard from Harrows Darts made it possible to have a quad scoring area.
The only surviving regional dartboard is the Manchester, which was introduced in Manchester city by the Perrigo family in the 19th century. Modern dartboards have a treble ring that was introduced in the 20th century.
When Did the Game of Darts Become Popular?
The game of darts began growing in popularity in the 19th century. Although there were no organized championships at this time, various versions of the game were introduced.
The game of darts became extremely popular in the 20th century in England. The first Dart championship was organized in the 1920s and the National Darts Association was established in 1924 in London to standardize the game. In 1927, the first News of the World Darts Championship that comprised of over 1000 participants was held in London.
By 1930, it became widespread in Welsh pubs and breweries in England. The game made the first TV appearance in 1937 and several matches were broadcasted by the British Broadcasting corporation (BBC).
World War I and World War II had a great influence on the game of darts. The onset of these wars caused this game to decline. However, this was not so with English soldiers who took the game to the battlefield as a pastime activity. During World War II, the American soldiers found out about darts and introduced the game to the US.
The sport also gained popularity among women, including Queen Elizabeth. In 1937, the Queen played darts at a social center in Buckinghamshire, England. In 1937, the first People Championship was held.
During the 1970s and 1980s, major tournaments of the game of darts were broadcasted on BBC and ITV. British Darts Organization (BDO) was then established in 1973 and this saw the widespread of darts in Britain. It was also during this time that household names like Leighton Rees, Jocky Wilson, Tony Brown, and others became celebrated in the world of darts.
What is the History of Darts Construction?
The first darts were made of crossbow bolts or arrows. The darts used at English dartboards were originally imported from France. Because of this, the original darts were known as “French darts.” These darts were made from solid wood and were fitted with lead to add weight and flights that were constructed from split turkey feathers.
Later on, the darts were imported to the UK as the game became widespread in Scottish, Welsh, and Irish. Darts made from metal barrels were then introduced in 1906. Metal barrels were cheap and easy to make and were used to manufacture darts in the 1970s.
After the Second World War II, Jim Pike, set up a company to manufacture darts. The Jim Pike Darts company manufactured darts like the Jim Pike which was made from a brass barrel.
During the 1970s, darts made from tungsten were introduced and became a favorite of many players because they gave the same weight without being too thick. The more tungsten content a dart has, the higher the quality.
Modern darts come in varying weights and feature different constructions like tungsten alloy, silver-nickel, or brass.