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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.

- Doctor Korsak, The Math Forum
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
```
Associated Topics:
High School History/Biography

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