Guinness Dart Board
In every bar in Ireland you will find a dartboard and they nearly always are a Guinness branded product.
Darts started being played in Ireland since the early 1900s and it really took hold as a sport in public houses.
Guinness being the defining drink in Ireland and a company noted globally for its marketing prowess and innovation started branding Guinness Dartboards with its name and logos and supplying them to bars. They were made to be a high quality functional board but also one that would add to the decor of the bar and were another piece of guinness memorabilia that doubled up as promotional material.
As a game, darts developed from the medieval war practice of throwing short javelins or darts in battle. The practice of this was where the game originated. The darts were reduced to a more civilian friendly version when modern warfare made them obsolete as a fighting tool.
The old vintage dart boards were made out of a block of Elm and the barman would have to soak it in water every night to allow the timber fill out the holes from darts. After years of use the elm board would start to issue radical cracks from the centre and these created sections and they were duly used as targets. The publican would have to soak the elm board every night so that the timber cells would swell and fill out the holes. In Ireland old Guinness left overs were poured in to a barrel and the board soaked in that. It had a 2 fold utility, it was a barrel already full of liquids so convenient and the Guinness stained the elm and gave it a cream brown colour when it dried.
In time, these sections were painted on and became a standard part of the dartboards, the sections that we know today. The real break through for the game came in the 1920s when Nodor developed a dart board backer made out of fibers from the Agave plant. Instead of the dart sticking in to the board and leaving a permanent hole they would push the tightly packed fibers to each side as they stuck in to it. The bar man had one less thing to do and they loved these boards that were convenient to use while the players were delighted that they did not have to pull them out of solid timber or clay which many antique ones were made from.
Guinness started in the 1920s creating branded and fun merchandise for bars and giving it away for free. It was a way of reinforcing their product in the mind of consumers and they quickly developed a reputation as a global innovator in marketing. It has been so effective that Guinness is now globally thought of as the national drink of Ireland.
From this perspective, creating a branded Guinness dartboard was a natural step,bar patrons would que up to stand in front of this board and start at it intently. So in the 1930s branded boards were given out to bars where Guinness was sold. These pieces were well crafted and made to fit in as a part of the decor of the bar, folding away in to cabinet with the Guinness logo.
They were shipped across the sea in to Irish bars in America as well and became a fixture in those establishments. The Guinness dart board became so associated with playing darts that it was not unusual for people to call a Sports shop and ask for bar style dart board for their own games room. Eventually Guinness released them as a branded gift item among, at this stage, hundreds of products that range from Clothes to Kitchen and art pieces.
A pint of Guinness in one hand and a dart in the other, stuff legends are made of.
Comments are closed