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Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Dart Board, Its History and Development

The dart board has been around for many years, the first ones were simple barrel ends. They progressed to purpose made wooden dart boards usually made of elm. Unfortunately they were prone to splitting so they were soaked overnight in water which also had the benefit of closing up the dart holes as the wood swelled.A company called Nodor changed all that and were the first company to produce the Bristle dart board, patenting the design in the 1930’s. There was a myth that pig bristles were used in the manufacture, but pig bristle was never used, instead the bristles were small pieces of rope bundled together and compressed to form a smooth surface with a natural self healing property that lasts for a very long time.

Nodor got a patent for the design and so were the only manufacturer for 25 years or so for the life of the patent. After the patent expired other manufacturers entered the arena most notably Winmau . And you thought Nodor was a funny name. Apparently the name Winmau was made up from the first three letters of the two names of the wife of the company director “Winifred Maud” hence Winmau.

Winmau and Nodor fought for supremacy in the dart board market for many years until Nodor eventually took over the Winmau brand. During this time Winmau came up with their famous Blade board with ultra thin wire separators and Nodor came up with the first staple free bulls eye dart board.

The bristle boards were used in all the big tournaments that started in the 70’s and are still used today in the prestigious tournaments like the Las Vegas classic and the British Lakeside tournament.

Then came Electronics, the electronic dart board came on the scene and changed the game overnight. The odd thing about electronic boards is they are covered in hundreds of small holes for the special soft tip darts to enter. At first glance you think how can the dart get into those holes so exactly? The answer is the holes are at the bottom of a small dimple in the board, which guides the dart tip into the hole. And it works very well with nowhere near the amount of bounce outs you might expect. Also of course those holes have sensors, which tell the electronics where the dart has landed and records the score of the dart automatically. This was a great boon to darters as they no longer had to keep score and the boards could be networked to collect all the scores from the boards on a computer, great for tournaments.

The difference with the electronic dart board are that you have to use soft tip darts, and the tips are made of plastic so as not to damage the board. (Never use normal steel tip darts on an electronic board) Also the maximum weight of dart allowed on most electronic dart boards is 20 grams.

There is now a new technology, Bristletech dart boards, which are electronic dart boards that can take steel tip darts as well as the soft tip variety, so you have the best of both worlds. The Bristletech technology is set to dominate the dart board market in the future.

The archers of old would marvel at how their game has developed and I’m sure there is more to come, especially with the development of Bristle type boards combined with electronics. The electronic game is popular in both Europe and the US and who knows, the big tournaments like the Las Vegas classic may go that way too.

About the Author:

Written by Steve Porter who has visited many bars researching his chosen sport of darts. Visit his website to choose your Dart Board

Wednesday, November 26, 2008, 0:30 (story source...)
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