The indoor game of darts became extremely popular in England in the 19th and 20th centuries. There are a lot of interesting anecdotes about the history of this fierce and difficult game.
More than 700 years have passed since the invention of the darts game. One might wonder, where can tracing the interesting history of the game of darts lead us to? There are numerous references about the creation date of the darts game. According to one source, the game of darts was created in England in the 1300s during the medieval era. The other claims that Darts’ history may be traced back to the Middle Ages, when English troops employed the javelin-like darts as a kind of entertainment.
Who Invented Darts?
The question of who created the first darts is one that has given rise to countless debates. An English carpenter from Bury, Lancashire named Brian Gamlin is credited with the majority of online references. Gamlin is also credited with coming up with the 20 numbering system in 1896. His dart targets proved challenging for players to hit.
Alternate sources tell us, however, that Tomas William Buckle was the person who actually invented darts. Tomas is credited with developing the Yorkshire dartboard. He was also a wire manufacturer. In support of this claim, Patrick Chaplin, a renowned dart historian, asserts that Tomas created the dartboard numbering system in 1912.
What is the history of dart making?
The first versions of the dart were probably shortened crossbow bolts or bow arrows. Darts, however, were initially constructed for use as a toy with a wood body, metal point, and fletched feather flying. A lead tip was occasionally used to give the hardwood dart more weight. As a result, the point end of the dart became heavy, otherwise a lead or metal strap was attached to the barreled portion of the dart. Early darts would have included a color variation that served as both a decorative element and a weight indicator.
The original throwing dart games employed smaller versions of the same hardwood target boards that are still manufactured today. Around medieval times, it is believed that darts as a sport first appeared. Beer barrels were used as the target as a kind of social amusement, with a cork or plug chosen as the primary target.
When Did the Game of Darts Become Popular?
The 19th century saw a rise in popularity for the darts game. Different iterations of the game were introduced even though there were no formal championships at the time.
In England, darts gained enormous popularity during the 20th century. The National Darts Association was founded in 1924 in London to standardize the game, and the first dart competition was held in the 1920s. The first Darts Championship, including over 1000 competitors, took place in London in 1927.
It expanded widely in Welsh pubs and breweries in England by 1930. In 1937, the sport made its debut on television, when the British Broadcasting Corporation aired numerous games (BBC).
Darts have been strongly inuenced by both World Wars I and II. The game started to suffer when these wars started. The situation was different, though, with English soldiers who played the game as a leisure on the battlefield. The US was first exposed to darts by American servicemen who learned about the game during World War II.
Women, notably Queen Elizabeth, started to take an interest in the sport as well. At a social club in Buckinghamshire, England, the Queen played darts in 1937. The inaugural People Championship took place in 1937 as well.
A Short History of Darts
Darts were little arrows that were thrown into targets with concentric rings. In France, they were called “Flechettes ,” which means “small arrow.” The first darts were made of wood. They were composed of bird feathers, usually turkey feathers, and had a metallic point.
The English game of darts first appeared during the fair, according to historian Patrick Chaplin, who cites substantial evidence for this claim. These games must have been popular because some of them or a variation of them continued to be played after the fair had ended.
Since the fairground-style dartboard was designed to make playing look easier to win a prize than it really was, the segment area of the dartboard likely descended from these early fairground boards in the middle of the 19th century.
Although it has little in common with the present game of dart throwing, Puff and Dart was another early example of a sport using a blowpipe to launch a dart. This was also classified as a parlor game in “Lawful Games on Licenced Premises,” which was published in 1904. If it was a board, the target could have been concentric circles rather than the divided target area that we are more accustomed to seeing today.
The board was constructed from softwood and covered with three to four circles of various colors, each having a bullseye in the center.
England Pub Darts
Pubs in England embraced darts enthusiastically, leading to the creation of dartboards and games. The board layout might vary depending on the locale, but most had a segmented circle target area. In order to increase the difficulty, additional scoring areas, such as the double ring, which is often situated on the edge of the circular ring, were introduced. However, on the Tunbridge dartboard, this area scored triples while a different one scored doubles.
Treble ring as we know it now was first used on dartboards in the 1920s, but it didn’t catch on right away. The “London” or “Clock” dartboard was what people referred to it as. It would have been more common at the time to use the Yorkshire dartboard. On this dartboard, there are 20 score areas, a doubles ring, a bullseye, and a target.
It is uncertain why the London dartboard became popular so quickly; nonetheless, some might have believed that a lucky throw could result in a score that was higher than the opponent might have wanted, but this board is now considered the norm.