The sport or game of darts is unique in several ways: the equipment required to play is reasonably inexpensive, a relatively small amount of space is required to play and special clothing is not required. Age, gender, size and physical strength or endurance have almost no effect on a player’s ability to do well. These factors combine to make darts one of the appealing and popular games today.
The game of darts is hundreds of years old rumour has it that the sport originally began as a contest between bored soldiers / archers during respites from battle. The soldiers threw short throwing spears into the upturned ends of wine barrels. As their competition progressed, a more critically marked target became necessary, which led to the use of a slice of a tree as a target. The natural rings of the tree proved perfect for scoring purposes, as did the radial cracks which appeared as the wood dried out. The winter forced the game indoors, and shorter darts and basic indoor rules were adopted.
In 1530 Anne Boleyn gave Henry VIII a set of “darts of Biscayan fashion, richly ornamented,” these were not darts as we know them today but more of a small throwing spear. Even our Pilgrim fathers are said to have had darts on the Mayflower (1620) and although their main use was for a weapon it is conservable they may have used the butt of a wine cask as a “board” for target practize. However Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, threw the odd dart as seen here below.
The dart itself became more or less standardized as the practice of throwing “missiles” at targets became a general pastime — the barrel was typically a piece of wood about 4 inches long with a metal point stuck in one end and feathers on the other. An American patented a folded-paper flight in 1898, and the all-metal barrel was patented by an Englishman in 1906.
Original article: A Brief History of Darts
Additional information on darts…
From Wikipedia: Darts
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