The true origins of darts have traditionally been ‘lost in the mists of ale house smoke’ but this is no longer the case. Here, with the assistance of ‘Dr. Darts’ (Patrick Chaplin) Harrows present the true time-line for the development of darts as we know it today.
1314 - “Darte” was first referred to in journals of the time. However, these were eighteen-inch, hand-held missive weapons used in close combat.
1457 - The game of ‘Puff and Dart’ (a forerunner of today’s darts) is banned in Leicester.
1532 - Anne Boleyn presents King Henry VIII with ‘dartes’ at the annual exchange of gifts for New Year.
1546 - ‘Dartes’ are mentioned in the inventory of the Mary Rose.
1620 - Legend has it that the Pilgrim Fathers played a form of darts on the Mayflower, as they travelled to America. However, the Pilgrim Father’s archivists can find no evidence of this.
1880s - Fairground showmen begin importing ‘flechettes’ (otherwise known as wooden ‘French darts’) into Britain as a new target game to attract punters. The game eventually spreads to English pubs.
1913 - Dewsbury wire-worker Thomas Buckle takes a London Fives Board, increases the number of segments to twenty, thereby creating the numbering sequence we know today and inventing the Yorkshire Board.
1925 - The National Darts Association (NDA) is established in London and introduces the London (or trebles) board as standard. The first formal rules are produced and the throw line is thereafter called the ‘hockey’; a term ‘borrowed’ from another pub game called ‘Aunt Sally’ (a form of skittles).
1927 - The News of the World individual darts tournament is established.
1935 - The ‘Broome Electronic Darts Target’ (a forerunner of electronic darts) is patented in England by Suffolk men Baden Warne and Maurice Elliott.
1937 - Darts televised for the first time by the BBC from its London Television Station at Alexandra Palace.
1939 - Darts is banned in Liverpool, Glasgow and Huddersfield.
1946 - First ‘World’ darts championship held in London between Joe Hitchcock and Jim Pike.
1954 - The National Darts Association of Great Britain (NDAGB) is set up by The People Sunday newspaper working with English darts organisers.
1965 - Tom Barrett becomes the first darts player to retain the News of the World title.
1973 - Harrows Darts founded as Harrows Game Shot Limited
1977 - The World Darts Federation (WDF) standardises the throwing distance at 7 feet 9 1⁄4 inches (2.37 metres).
1977 - The soft-tip darts revolution begins in the USA.
1989 - On February 21st 1989, at Buckingham Palace, London, Eric Bristow became the first and only darts player to receive the coveted Member of the British Empire award (M.B.E.). Bristow was awarded this honour for “Services to Darts and UK Exports” by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
1992 - World Darts Council, later the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), is established.
2002 - Televised darts has firmly established darts as an international sport, it being broadcast throughout Europe, America, South Africa, South East Asia and Australasia.
2003 - Harrows celebrates 30 years of success in the highly competitive darts business.
2005 - Eric Bristow is inducted into the PDC “Darts Hall Of Fame” as a founder member.
2008 - First Harrows Darts Cup tournaments held in 20 cities across Japan - the largest “darts tour” ever.
2010 - Following new research into the properties of tungsten, Harrows launch their innovative ‘I.C.E.’ range, created by an Isostatic Cold Extrusion process.
2011 - Black I.C.E. is launched to universal acclaim!
2012 ... and beyond. Harrows Darts continues to push the boundaries of design innovation for the next darts generation!