History of Paintball

history of paintball

A Brief History of Paintball

Ever wondered about the history of one of the fastest growing outdoors sports?

It’s always a good idea to know the origins of the activity you’re trying to kick ass in. So here is a very brief history of paintball.

The initial concept of the game was to recreate the scenario of survival of the fittest. But before that we’ll first quickly dive into the equipment used in the sport.


Origin of paintball equipment


It all started back in the mid 1960’s with Charles Nelson co-founder of the Nelson Paint Company. He patented a number of devices that marked timber for removal.

The US Forestry Services mandated the Nelson Paint Company to come up with efficient ways to mark trees from a distance. This helped to prevent the markers to have to walk up to every tree they had to mark. Hence the term ‘marker’ for the gun that we use in the sport.

One of the markers squirted a jet of paint and the other used balls injected with paint to mark their targets. The balls became more popular markers as ranchers starting to be using  to mark their cattle from a distance.

The pellets were created by taking gelatine capsules from encapsulated medicine for horses and injecting oil based paint into them.

The production of the first marker gun, the Crosman 707, was by the Crosman company with the help of Charles Nelson, but was put to a halt due to poor sales. Charles refused to give in and approached Daisy, the air gun manufacturer to produce the Daisy Splotchmarker in 1972. This became famously known as the Nelspot 007 and the oil based paintballs were mass produced by RP Scherer.

How the game came to be

With the equipment now available, two friends Hayes Noel (a Wall Street stockbroker) and Charles Gaines (a writer) were pondering what it took to survive in the woods while being hunted. Bob Gurnsey (a ski shop owner) wrote up the rules and in May of 1981 in Henniker, New Hampshire and the 3 discussed to have the first game. The 3 invited 9 others which covered $175 each for all expenses including equipment food and some good o’l booze.

On the 27th of June 1981 the first paintball game took place which was capture the flag, on an 100-acre cross-country ski area. The winner of this first game was Richie White a New Hampshire forester.

Things have changed a lot from that first game. The markers (guns),eg. Nelspot 007, used CO2 cartridges with only 12 rounds. Modern markers come with front pumps for easy cocking and tanks full of pallets replacing the cartridges.

This is a fairly young sport but is one of the fastest growing outdoor sports since its inception.

Hope this brief intro to the history of paintball was helpful. If it was please like or share with your peeps so that no one will be ill informed on game day.