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Article: Darts : How the Bristle dart board came about

Darts : How the Bristle dart board came about

The Bristle Dart Board was the first replacement dartboard for the old wooden dart board that had been used for centuries. The Bristle style dart board is the ultimate dart board as far as I^m concerned, the look and feel of it and the satisfying thud when the dart hits the board seems just right, like this is the way darts was meant to be played.

The "bristles" are actually pieces of rope tied together to make a small bundle. Lots of bundles are then put on a wooden base and compressed together using a steel ring. The face of the board is then sanded down and the dyes added to give the segments their different colours and then the "spider" or steel segment dividers are added. The number ring is put on the outside and hey presto; you have a bristle dart board.

The first one was made by Nodor, which is a bit odd as they were a company that made modelling clay and their boast was that the clay had no odour, hence the name Nodor. As a sideline, they made a plasticine type dart board, which was not a great success, the idea being you could reshape the clay to get rid of the holes and use the board again and again. Remember at the time most dart boards were made from wood.

Then some bright spark had the idea of making a dart board from rope and went to Nodor with the idea! This unlikely idea turned out to be genius and Nodor patented the first Bristle Dart Board in the early thirties. Having the patent meant they were the only manufacturer allowed to produce the board for 20 years and then other manufacturers came on the scene.

Other manufacturers now entered the arena especially Winmau. Now the race was on to produce better and better versions of the original Bristle dart board; staple free bulls eyes and thinner wire shaped in a diamond shape to reduce the dreaded bounce outs appeared. They also reduced the gauge of the wire used in making the spider, so much so that the present boards have 20% or more extra space for the darts to hit.

Nowadays the boards used in all the big tournaments are virtually staple free and have the shaped thin wire for the spider. Winmau has its Blade III board and Nodor its Supawires board and now there are a whole host of other makes as well which all have increased scoring areas like the DMI Bandit that is totally staple free. All of these developed staple free bulls eyes and thin spiders increasing the overall scoring area. The Bristle dart board is at the peak of its development, giving rise to increased scores compared to the past due to those ultra thin wires and increased scoring areas.

As for the future of the Bristle dart board, I think it is still bright, as nothing quite matches the look, sound and feel of a classic bristle board not withstanding the incredible developments of the electronic dart board.

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Written by a keen darter Steve Porter. Check out the website to see more of the Bristle Dart Board

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