Why Are the Numbers on a Dartboard Where They Are?
Date: 03/09/2004 at 01:58:42 From: Ed Subject: Seemingly random dart board numbering system The way that the numbers 1 to 20 are arranged on a standard dart board seems to be random, but apparently this is not the case. The numbers are placed in such a way as to encourage accuracy. The "penalty" for missing large numbers is hitting small numbers (i.e. 20 is bordered by 1 and 5). Are these numbers placed in the best possible order to ensure accuracy is rewarded? For example, why does 2 not border 19 instead of resting between 15 and 17?
Date: 03/09/2004 at 02:45:40 From: Doctor Korsak Subject: Re: Seemingly random dart board numbering system Hello Ed, I just did a web search and got many hits, of which the first was http://www.dartbase.com/Sect1/14.html from which I quote an explanation credited to Sven Silow: The number system on the board is often blamed on a Brian Gamlin, a carpenter from Bury, Lancashire, who is said to have invented it at the age of 44 in 1896. This story is much doubted though, and it is even questioned whether he lived at all. According to another source, Thomas William Buckle invented the dartboard in 1913. The source in question is his son, Thomas Edward Buckle, who in 1992 made his statement in Darts World (nr 234). By the way, the dartboard that is used over most of the world today is not the only one that exists or has existed. Boards with other number systems/sequences exist as well. The Manchester board is still used and there have been many others (ex. the Grimsby board, which has double 14 on top). Actually, Thomas Edward Buckle says that Gamlin could possibly have invented the Manchester board (a bit more geographically probable?). Without having done any research on the subject, I can't help but believe that darts were played a bit at random in the beginning, that a lot of numbering systems were used, and that they probably changed from time to time and place to place (hence the many different boards that no longer are in use). A few systems survived - and especially so the "London board" which we use today with few exceptions. I don't think that there has been any great thought behind the numbering either. Low numbers beside high numbers can be done in numerous ways (and probably were). The number-sequence we have today has probably just chance (and that it perhaps was better than most of the other used systems) to thank for its survival. It's not extremely special though, and could have been done in other ways not less good. Please contact Dr. Math if you need further help. - Doctor Korsak, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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