The man who is credited with the ‘invention’ of the numbering sequence of the modern standard dartboard is Brian Gamlin. Gamlin was a carpenter from Bury in the County of Lancashire, England and came up with the infuriating sequence in 1896, at the age of 44. He died in 1903 before he could patent the idea.

In those days many working men – and in particular those with carpentry skills – manufactured dartboards out of elm or poplar wood as a sideline. This cottage industry was later prevalent across the North of England, the Midlands and the South East as darts grew in popularity from the mid-1920s onwards. The reason for producing dartboards at home, or more properly in the garden shed, was to sell the boards to local pubs, thereby supplementing the family income. However, more often than not, this income never found its way home at all. Dartboards were exchanged for credit in the local pub or money earned would finds its way back over the bar.

The numbering of a standard dartboard is designed in such a way as to cut down the incidence of ‘lucky shots’ and reduce the element of chance. The numbers are placed in such a way as to encourage accuracy. That’s it. Pure and simple. The placing of small numbers either side of large numbers e.g. 1 and 5 either side of 20, 3 and 2 either side of 17, 4 and 1 either side of 18, punishes inaccuracy. Thus, if you shoot for the 20 segment, the penalty for lack of accuracy or concentration is to land in either a 1 or a 5.

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