Darts History (Who invented, When & How was invented)

Let’s explore all about Darts History (who invented it, when & how was invented).

Darts is a popular game that has been enjoyed by people for generations. Whether played in a pub, at home with friends, or in a professional setting, darts has been a staple of leisure time for many people all over the world. Despite its popularity, many people may not know the history behind this classic game. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the origins of darts and the development of modern darts, as well as key moments in its history and the future of the sport.

Darts History (Who invented, When & How was invented)

Quite often, when you are bored, you call up your friend to do nothing together, don’t you? While doing nothing together, you often end up doing something together. Like, you may watch a movie or come up with a completely ridiculous game or just judge people by following a list.

When you invent such a game up, it becomes a tradition to follow when both of you are bored again together. With time, you expand this tradition and include other bored friends in it. At a point, it becomes a game all your friends know about and all your friends play.

In fact, this is how most games were invented. And, the darts history is something very similar as well. You know how dart games are- an arrow-like dart is thrown at a dartboard and all you have to do is try and secure a high score by throwing accurately.

Can you find it similar to anything now? Something that is not a game? Well, you can track the origin down to hunting- where people used arrows to hunt animals down but that isn’t quite the case with darts, is it? Even worse you can track it back to wars where people hunted people down with arrows.

What if I tell you it is a bit of both? Let’s get our ideas clear about where darts exactly originated.

Let’s do away with the rumors first.

There are many theories regarding where darts originally came from. Someone even mentions King Henry VIII of the Tudor dynasty of England getting a gift from his wife Anne Boleyn- the gift to be a dart game precisely. But, this is quite wrong. What the king got as a gift was a very larger version of a dart- they were spears.

Apparently, these spears were very much like darts because the mechanism they work is quite the same. In order to get both distance and direction- the design had to be similar. But, the spearheads were not for playing games but for more dangerous and realistic purposes. So, you cannot really count it as a point where darts came into being.

Find the best darts players in the history here.

If this was the case, you could consider darts being in existence as early as the primitive age. Because all the primitive people ever did was hunt and eat with sharp tools that may have looked like darts too.

So, what could be the origin?

The history of darts can be traced back to medieval times, when it was originally used as a weapon in warfare. It wasn’t until later that darts was transformed into a leisure activity and became popular in pubs and taverns. These early versions of darts were often made from wood or metal and were usually played on wooden boards with no real standardization in terms of rules or regulations.

As with the information technology and many other inventions, the credit for the invention of the game of darts can go to the military as well. Men in the military during the time of wars are under a different kind of stress and in a different situation. When they have to do something, their whole life depends on doing that thing- when enemies are around. On the other hand, quite often, they just have to kill time or train.

When it is a matter of life and death, humans need to distract themselves from the thought of wars. So, the soldiers had to find a way to pass their time when they had nothing to do and all the evil thoughts could consume their minds.

As a result, they started playing games with each other. And, what better way to play than use spearheads and wine casks that were quite useless and available around them? So, the soldiers started throwing their spearheads at the upturned wine casks and began competing with each other on the basis of accuracy, speed, and power.

Since this game improved the accuracy, no one stopped the soldiers from playing it rather the officers and others encouraged them. You can consider it to be a bit of escape from the depressing aura of wars that somehow helped the soldiers deal with the wars as well.

And, this is around 700 years ago, in 1300 AD.

A bit more development.

After using wine casks as a target for a while, the soldiers started using tree trunks as a target. The reasons are quite obvious- who would like wasting so many wine casks back then? And, when playing with tree trunks, the soldiers developed their own rules of play.

Then, they realized that the game has to be more organized. They have to test the accuracy more seriously. And, the tree trunks showed the way with the circular rings on them. The center of the tree was the most accurate with the outer ring being the least accurate. And, if the spearhead did not even touch the tree trunk- the soldier was not very accurate in his shots at all.

Therefore, this is where the game of darts got a structure.

The way it spread.

It was mostly in England that all these happened. During world war II, the soldiers played this game even more. Every break between battles consisted of rest, preparation and a similar game to the game of darts. As you can see, it is such a game that people could easily get addicted to.

So, when these soldiers returned home, the game entered their places with the soldiers. From the battlefields, the game of darts entered the villages, pubs, and cities. When the mates asked a soldier ‘So what did you do when you were not fighting?”- the answer included the game of darts along with other activities the soldiers did.

Then the game of darts took a safer form with smaller darts that did not spearhead anymore. A board that was not a tree trunk anymore but something similar, made of wood. The pubs had this game and so id many other public places but with no standard rule or structure. In fact, the dartboard from Yorkshire was completely different from the one in London.

A concern is created.

Dart became so popular that a pub owner in 1908 went to court for conducting a game of darts at his pub. The crime? At that time games gave everyone the equal chance of winning- games meant that people had to use their skills to win and the judgment must be fair.

The judges considered darts to be a game of chance- something that people had to rely on luck for. Luckily, the pub owner and his friend proved them wrong. Apparently, the cool pub owner brought in a great dart player who was very accurate and made him throw the darts. Then, he made the judges throw darts as well. While all of the darts struck the board quite accurately for the player, the judges could not be as accurate.

So, the game of darts did not depend on luck but skill and practice were proved and the pub owner went free. And, thereby, the game of darts became popular in pubs and England even more.

Key Moments in the History of Darts

In the late 19th century, the invention of the dartboard marked a major turning point in the history of darts. The standardization of rules and regulations followed, and the sport began to grow in popularity. By the mid-20th century, darts had become a staple of pub culture and the foundation of professional darts leagues and tournaments was established.

One of the key moments in the history of darts was the founding of the National Darts Association of Great Britain in 1923. This marked the beginning of the standardization of rules and regulations, and set the stage for the development of professional darts. Another key moment was the creation of the World Darts Federation in 1970, which brought together darts players from all over the world and helped to promote the sport on a global scale. The establishment of the Professional Darts Corporation in 1992 marked another important step in the evolution of the sport, and helped to establish darts as a legitimate competitive activity.

The Very Necessary Numbering.

It is not really possible to compare two players without a proper scoring system. And, this is where a carpenter and a dart maker comes in the scenario. Apparently, according to some, a carpenter called Brian Gamlin first set the numbers for each segment of the dartboard.

Then again, no one could even find the traces of this fellow. But, there is another fellow who was a maker of dartboards himself- Thomas William Buckle. According to many, he is the one who invented the numbering system of the dartboard and his son apparently agrees.

The numbering system may seem like an easy thing to invent, but it was actually quite a clever one. In fact, the placement of the numbers on the board was very strategic. If you observe, you will see that the highest numbers were placed quite away from each other. In fact, the lowest numbers surrounded the highest numbers. 

So, if you targeted a high number and were not accurate- then you would hit a very low number. It punishes the players cruelly for inaccuracy and that is exactly how the game should be.

The Standardization.

The rules for the game of darts was often standardized at a local and national level. However, at first, it did not reach a lot of people. In fact, the first television broadcast of the game occurred in 1936.

There were many competitions that took place around the world on the darts game. However, in 1992, many high profile players got into a conflict because they were not happy with how the game took place. This was ought to happen because of poor regulations and the lack of a common standard throughout the world.

That is when World Darts Council or the Professional Darts Corporation saw its beginning. This organization brought the dart types form all over the world, accumulated it and set a standard. In fact, you can play following different rules. But, there is a name for those rules now.

You will know which rules to follow when you are playing a professional tournament. Apparently, you will know what the criteria for judgment is and you will also know how the scoring takes place.

The Darts History: Types of the Game

Apparently, you can play the game in many different ways. In fact, you can barely play it in all the ways that the rest of the world plays it in- you can even invent a new way to make the game more difficult. However, the dartboards usually come in a limited number of types.

What you should know that it mostly consists of a circle at the center or the board which is the bullseye. Then, it consists of a circle around the bullseye that is divided into twenty segments. What makes on board different from the other is the number of sections the segments you divide it in. In other words, the number of rings it would have around the bullseye.

Single Dart Boards:

This one only has that large boundary ring close to the perimeter of the dartboard and the bullseye. It is easier to play and the accuracy you need for this level is not that significant.

Double Dart Boards:

This is where you add another ring to the dartboard and towards the center- the treble ring. It makes the game more difficult and scoring more segmented. The ‘London’ board which is a standard now is one of this kind of dartboard.

Treble Dart Boards:

This has one more ring added and thus it gains the name treble. Also, it definitely increases the difficulty and complexity of the game.

The Quad Dart Boards:

There are four rings on this board but it is not very popular anymore and no one even manufactures it.

Games you can play:

Standard (501, 701, 301):

This is a scoring procedure where the score is 701 or 501 or 301 at the beginning. Each player hits three times in a row. He must usually end with a double on each round. And, you have to deduct the score from the initial score- 701/501/301. In order to end the game fast- you can play the standard 301 dart game.

Around the Clock:

In this case, the numbers determine the scope and sequence. Apparently. You have to be the first player who its all the numbers of the dartboard from 1-20- sequentially. The first one to do so wins the game- quite simple to understand but very difficult to achieve.

These were just two examples of how you can choose to score and play a dart game. I fact, you will find many more variations of the game on the same dartboard.

The Future of Darts

The future of darts looks bright, with the continued growth and popularity of the sport. The introduction of new technologies, such as electronic dartboards, has helped to make the game more accessible and appealing to a wider audience. With more people taking an interest in darts and the potential for further growth and development, it’s clear that this classic game will continue to be enjoyed by people for generations to come.

In conclusion

As you can see, the game of darts did not come into being overnight. It started as something completely different and it gained its structure quite slowly going through quite a number of changes. Right now, you will find various versions of the game- various materials make boards and darts. However, there is usually a common set of rules everyone agrees on.

So, the history of darts is rich and fascinating, and the evolution of the sport has been shaped by many key moments and milestones. From its origins as a weapon in medieval times, to its development into a popular leisure activity and competitive sport, darts has played an important role in the lives of people all over the world. Whether you’re a seasoned darts player or just starting out, the future of darts looks bright and we look forward to seeing where this classic game will go next.