History of Darts

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. 

1457The game of ‘Puff and Dart’ (a forerunner of today’s darts) is banned in Leicester. 

1532Anne 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. 

1620Legend 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. 

1880sFairground 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. 

1913Dewsbury 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. 

1925The 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). 

1927The News of the World individual darts tournament is established. 

1935The ‘Broome Electronic Darts Target’ (a forerunner of electronic darts) is patented in England by Suffolk men Baden Warne and Maurice Elliott. 

1937Darts televised for the first time by the BBC from its London Television Station at Alexandra Palace. 

1939Darts is banned in Liverpool, Glasgow and Huddersfield. 

1946First ‘World’ darts championship held in London between Joe Hitchcock and Jim Pike.

1954The National Darts Association of Great Britain (NDAGB) is set up by The People Sunday newspaper working with English darts organisers. 

1965Tom Barrett becomes the first darts player to retain the News of the World title. 

1973Harrows Darts founded as Harrows Game Shot Limited. 

1977The World Darts Federation (WDF) standardises the throwing distance at 7 feet 9 1⁄4 inches (2.37 metres). 

1977The soft-tip darts revolution begins in the USA. 

1989On February 21st 1989, at Buckingham Palace, London, Eric Bristow became the first 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. 

1992World Darts Council, later the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), is established. 

2002Televised darts has firmly established darts as an international sport, it being broadcast throughout Europe, America, South Africa, South East Asia and Australasia. 

2003Harrows celebrates 30 years of success in the highly competitive darts business. 

2005Eric Bristow is inducted into the PDC “Darts Hall Of Fame” as a founder member. 

2008First Harrows Darts Cup tournaments held in 20 cities across Japan - the largest “darts tour” ever. 

2010Following new research into the properties of tungsten, Harrows launch their innovative ‘I.C.E.’ range, created by an Isostatic Cold Extrusion process. 

2011Black I.C.E. is launched to universal acclaim! 

2013...and beyond. Harrows Darts continues to push the boundaries of design innovation for the next darts generation!