History

There are many varied stories of how darts began, from Neanderthals practicing with spears to stories of the pilgrims bringing the game to America on the Mayflower. There are stories of archers in medieval England, needing winter practice, using arrows that had been cut down and finding the round bottom of a wine cask at the local tavern made a perfect target. Even Henry the VIII was reputed to have played the game and was given a very ornate set of darts by his one time wife, Ann Boleyn.

Darts, as we know them today, were around in the mid to late 19th century. It was after WWI that the game found a permanent spot in the local pubs and taverns, with even the King and Queen appearing and throwing darts for promotional purposes. This further enhanced and legitimized the sport and after WWII darts started to gain momentum in popularity. When the war ended, the game spread to America when the GI’s, stationed in England, brought the game back with them.

In the 1970’s the BDO (British Darts Organization) and the ADO (American Darts Organization) were established and leagues and tournaments were formed were held on both sides of the Atlantic. In the mid to late 1970’s the introduction and development of the soft tip vending machine arrived. By the 1980’s the soft tip dart game and their coin fed machines were promoted, in certain areas, by vending companies who organized leagues and tournaments. With the possibility of sharing in the monetary windfall and the added safety factor of plastic points, pub owners signed on and the game continued to grow in those heavily promoted areas.

Darts entered the mainstream in the 1990’s when the game was introduced to the general public through the sporting goods and department store chains. Today there are professional dart players who compete for thousands of dollars along with televised tournaments that are shown regularly in England. A few tournaments can be found on American television on ESPN and Fox Sports.

Today, the popularity of the game of darts has expanded beyond the pubs and taverns and now can be found in many home recreation game rooms and on college campuses making the game of darts a common pastime and a staple of the indoor games industry.

 
Information provided here Courtesy of Dart World Inc.