It's obvious really!
Darts is a simple game involving two or more players throwing darts at a dartboard.
Each player throws three darts at a time so they obviously use darts of the same weight and style to achieve a uniform throw.
As the players throw darts three at a time, it is equally obvious that players buy their darts in sets of three.
Obvious, we say! All this may seem common place to us now but before Frank Lowy created Unicorn Darts over 65 years ago this was far from the case.
Originally darts were sold from dump bins in hardware shops and they were all thrown in together, regardless of weight or style, and people bought however many they wanted
However, in 1937 came the first in a long line of Unicorn darting innovations - the "Silver Comet" - a precision made set of three darts. It's obvious, really!>
Since then we have pioneered darts technology worldwide with a succession of innovations, all made to help the regular dart player improve his game. There are now 4.5 million players in the UK playing in organised darts leagues and worldwide this increases to over 60 million.
Frank Lowy paid Â£6 to have made this original prototype set of his patent Silver Comet darts and it was with this single investement that the Unicorn Group was founded in November 1937.
Silver Comet Darts (1949)
Feather Dart flights (1959)
In 1949 Unicorn became the first company to sell darts classified by actual weight, an obvious benefit for all players. To this day, Unicorn is the only company confident enough to guarantee weight accuracy to within 0.33% on most tungsten darts.
Another Unicorn innovation of major significance was the introduction in 1972 of the first commercial tungsten alloy darts which allowed the player the great advantage of slimmer darts for closer grouping. This was followed in 1987 with the introduction of the first titanium tungsten darts and our unique range of Golden Unicorn darts.
Flights, shafts and accessories have not escaped the Unicorn pioneering zeal. From feather flights, we developed and introduced the first one-piece plastic flight, the modern polyester flight and in 1955 launched the first flight with impressions on the wing.
Slikstik, Unicorn's patented side loading dart shaft, is a world beater and in 1977 we introduced the world's first steel shaft with replaceable top.
21st century dart technology arrived in 1995 with the launch of QuikSteel. With QuikSteel Spin and Tri-Point, Unicorn launched the world's first rotating, interchangeable integral steel shaft and the world's first rotating, retracting and instantly interchangeable dart point.
In packaging, too, Unicorn leads the world. The launch of the X-series in 1998 introduced a brand new concept in darts packaging - a transparent darts case allowing the consumer to see the product clearly before purchase. Contoured to fit the hand, it is both elegant and practical. With no waste it is environmentally friendly. Without doubt, it is 'Clearly Better' for all concerned.
2002 sees the launch of two new cases, the Eclipse and the Compact, which along with the X-Pack are at the heart of the latest Unicorn darts range. For details of the latest Unicorn range, click here.
Rise of Professional Darts
It is not only darts technology that has changed over the last 60 years but the game itself has moved forward into a new professional age and here again Unicorn has played a pivotal role.
The roots of darts are planted firmly in pubs and clubs and the News of The World Tournament, launched in the 1920's and revived briefly with Unicorn's help in the mid 1990s, was the first major sponsored darts tournament to raise the profile above the local level.
As the tournament developed the winners invariably used Unicorn darts and would sign an agreement making us the first company to sponsor a dart player. One of these was Tom Barrett, who helped introduce the game in America; another was Barry Twomlow, who has recently retired as Unicorn's Ambassador of Darts.
Television recognised the massive popular appeal of darts and in 1975 Unicorn launched the Unicorn World Pairs Trophy at London's West Centre Hotel, the first international tournament with teams from 16 countries. In 1976 it became the first televised World Darts Championship.
Such was the success of the programme that ITV's World of Sport increased its viewing figures during the darts transmission despite direct competition from the annual Boat Race on BBC. Success breeds success and very soon other major corporate sponsors from outside the sport jumped on the bandwagon and a new series of televised events were organised, which allowed us to concentrate on our main task of making fine products.
Darts is now having a good run on television thanks to the initiatives of the Professional Darts Corporation and Sky Sports, where another link with the past is Dave Lanning, who was the ITV World of Sport's darts commentator at the Unicorn World Pairs and is now part of the successful Sky commentary team.
Rupert Murdoch is not known to back losers and Sky TV are now firmly committed to darts and the viewing figures have exceeded their wildest expectations and are certainly higher than many of the so called traditional sports. Unicorn is playing its full part in this professional revival through its active involvement in the PDC, its sponsorship of the official PDC boards in televised events and of course its sponsorship of the professionals.
In 1998 we also sponsored a darts TV magazine programme in association with Sky Sports, "Off The Oche", which finished top of the ratings in its week of transmission.
Unicorn now has even closer links with televised darts as we are now the Official Dartboard Supplier to the Professional Darts Corporation and every darts tournament shown on Sky Sports is played on a Unicorn Eclipse dartboard.
Unicorn & the Sport of Darts
The Silver Comet