DECO – If you’ve ever seen a Deco dartboard kicking around, you can be sure that it’s an old board. The company known as the “Dartboard Equipment Company” came to an end in 1982. But before then, they had worked supplying boards and darts to the world.
According to a 1952 issue of the Philadelphia Evening bulletin, John Pearson fashioned the very first dartboard in America. His son and grandson took up the trade, and worked together as the Dartboard Equipment Company.
That, is a pretty solid start, albeit in the English fashion. They did, however, turn parts of their attention towards manufacturing American Style boards.
DECO Dart Boards
I have some picts of Deco various Deco boards I’ve found for sale . . .
That board has to be at least 35 years old, and it looks in great shape for its age. The extra shooting targets in the corners are an interesting feature. I don’t remember if the DECO board in my uncle’s cellar has the same corner target areas. I know it has a lot more wear.
The two following picts are of a much older board that the seller identified as being made by DECO. There are diferent games on either side of the board. One is the more traditional “innings” face, and the back has a baseball themed set of scoring areas.
While I had never heard of Deco darts until I saw these online, I guess that’s understandable. Darts have a much shorter lifespan than boards do, and since the company stopped producing in the early 80’s, expecting to find many Deco dart sets floating around is probably unreasonable.
Here’s a picture of some darts that were sold in three-packs and hung on a wire in a retail store.
For a while, the company must have experimented with plastic flights. I’m not at all sure why this never caught on, but I have a few of the plastic flight deco darts in my collection. Here’s a Pict . . .
The picture above is blurry. I can’t seem to get the camera to behave properly, but I wanted to get a picture up. Both darts are the same size, although the blue one looks a bit shorter in the pict.
The body of the dart is plastic, and you can see the flights are plastic as well. The nose section of the dart, with the lead weight and the needle are the usual set up.Although it’s difficult to see from the picture, the darts have “Deco” stamped across them. Below is a picture of
- Blue plastic Deco
- A white flight plastic deco dart with a different weght/needle cone
- A wood/feather Deco
- A standard Widdy dart
The white flighted plastic Deco is a little longer than the other darts in the picture.
The company also put out dart-related items, such as this “dart holder”.
And, now I know that the dart companies were in it together! Not only does the iconic Widdy Dart Cabinet enourage us to just “Relax, Have Fun, Play Darts!” – but Deco was in on that game in some of their vintage packaging (or advertising?)!
End of Deco, Rise of Darto
In 1982, the Deco facilites were burned to the ground in a fire. Bruce Tempest, the man in charge of Deco at the time, decided against rebuilding. Fred Martine, who had been working at Deco for 30 years, received Tempest’s blessing when he proposed to take up the reigns and continue manufacturing dartboards and supplies under the name Darto.
Darto is, of course, very much alive today.