Darts History

Table of Contents

Darts

How did darts start?

Darts can be traced back a long way, depending on how you want to look at it. For example, you could go all the way back to the ancient Greeks, who used to throw spears, whether it be in battle, or for fun during breaks in battle, they definitely used them. In the middle ages, the actual game of darts came into prominence and this is probably the most accurate time to recall, if talking about when the game of darts really began.

Men from all areas of society were taking an interest in the game and were playing it in their local drinking houses. It has also been recorded that Anne Boleyn gave Henry the Eighth a beautiful set of darts, as a gift in 1530.

In terms of a dartboard, slices of tree truck were commonly used, as they were easy to come by and had natural rings on them, which could be used as targets. However, it wasn’t until the late 1800’s and early 1900’s where the game we know and love today, started to develop. Paper flights and metal barrels were introduced, along with a standard dartboard, featuring numbers.

Interestingly, darts was banned from pubs in the early 1900’s, as it was considered a game of chance. However, a plucky landlord decided to challenge this ruling and went to court, showing the game was not one of chance, by hitting three treble 20’s and challenging the officials to do the same. None of them could and darts was reintroduced, becoming more popular and competitions were formed.

Prizes were then introduced for the winners, with the News of the World tournament in 1927 open to residents of London and then expanding country wide in later years.

The National Darts Association was formed in 1954 and the official rules started to take shape. It’s from here, that we have the game we all enjoy today.

If you don’t know what games you are talking about, check out this resource on games to play on a dart board.

History of Darts FAQs

There’s a lot of questions surrounding the origins of the game of darts. Let’s try and answer some of them!

Who invented the game of darts?

The game of darts we know and love was invented by a carpenter named Brian Gamlin. His invention is estimated to have happened around 1896. Now let’s all take a moment to thank him for creating the game we love. 

What country did darts originate from?

While the actual origins of darts can be a little confusing, there’s no doubt the game of darts we know today originated in England. Darts has been a staple in pubs across England for as long as we can remember. 

Where is darts played?

Darts is played all around the world, most commonly at home, or in pubs and bars. More serious players will compete in dedicated darts arenas. England, Netherlands, Wales & Scotland is where the game is most popular.

Who’s the most succesful darts player in history?

While in the scheme of things, professional darts is very much in it’s infancy, however, while a subjective claim, many recognise Phil “The Power” Taylor as the best darts player the world has seen (so far…).