Where Did Paintball Originate
Around 1960, the first paintball gun was invented for forestry workers to use in making up trees on hard-to-reach terrain that needed to be cut down. Farmers used paintball guns to mark their livestock. This first paintball gun was a Nelspot 007 designed by Charles Nelson of the Nelson Paint Company. People still refer to a paintball gun as a marker.
A sporting goods retailer named Bob Gurnsey and a couple of his friends were discussing the comparison of a city dweller and a country person on how they could survive in the great outdoors. Nelson’s paintball marker was discovered in an agricultural catalog.
The original name of paintball games were survival games. Bob Gurnsey wrote the rules of the first paintball game and it was held in the outdoors of New Hampshire on June 7th, 1981 known as woods ball. There were four flag stations with a total of twelve players. The game was referred to a capture the flag.
Capture the flag and elimination games are where players of opposing teams shoot one another with bio degradable, nontoxic paintballs filled with colorful paint using a paintball marker or gun. Paintball USA offers both capture the flag and elimination games. https://www.paintballusa.org/
The first paintball guns were pistols and pump rifles. From that time, there are many different styles and models to choose from including semi-automatic and fully automatic markers.
Paintball is an extreme sport in which players compete, in teams or individually, to eliminate opponents by tagging them with capsules containing water-soluble dye and gelatin shell outside propelled from a paintball marker or gun. Paintball birthday parties are especially popular for all ages. https://www.paintballusa.org/gallery/paintball-birthday-parties
Equipment needed for the first paintball game.
- A Nel-Spot pistol.
- Eye protection, mask with lenses.
- Some paintballs.
- A navigational map of the wooded area for games.
- Camouflage clothing, earth tones to blend into the terrain.
Players used their imagination on game strategies. Games would start upon a blow of a whistle. Some players hid in the foliage to ambush and surprise the opposing team while others would rush to grab the team’s flag.
As the sport gained popularity, an article about paintball was published in the 1981 October issue of Sports Illustrated. Bob Gurnsey began selling a survival game package that included a paintball marker, eye protections, paintballs and book of rules for the sport. The sport was labeled, The National Survival Game.
In March of 1982, Bob Gurnsey opened the first commercial paintball park. His company, National Survival Game, contracted with Nelson Paint to be the sole distributor of their product. The National Survival Game business was franchised and paintball fields began to open throughout the United States.
That same year, players Jeff Perlmutter and Dave Freeman presented a deal with The National Survival Game, however, when that was unsuccessful, they formed their own company called Pursuit Marketing that produced paintballs and paintball markers.
When paintballs were first manufactured by Nelson Paint Company, the price of purchase for a case was exceptionally expensive. In the last fifty years, there are so many paint manufacturing companies, you can buy a case of paintballs for very little.