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Nerf is a famous toy brand loved by children and even adults all over the world. It was created by Parker Brothers in 1969.
It symbolizes childhood. However, many adults cannot leave nerfing behind.
There is scarcely a child, or an adult, in the world not knowing or not hearing anything about Nerf guns, very enjoyable and safe toy weapons.
These toy weapons are released under the Nerf brand maintaining a favorite dignity for several generations.
When were nerf guns invented? In this article, we’ll make a brief trip into the history of the origin and evolution of Nerf guns and highlight some types of them.
Nerf: what is it?
Nerf is an American brand of toy weapons. It is worldwide famous for its soft foam games and water guns.
Originally it was owned by Parker Brothers the parent company of which was Kenner. But in 1987, Kenner was bought by Tonka Corporation, which, in turn, was purchased by Hasbro Inc., in 1991.
Currently, all rights for the brand are owned by Hasbro company.
Later on, the brand was expanded to toy weapons equipped with safe foam projectiles for them.
Origin of “Nerf” name
Nerf is a slang word that refers to the foam paddings used to wrap the support bars usually called Nerf bars. However, there is a theory that Nerf denotes non-expanding recreational foam.
So the Nerf ball got its name due to the similarity of the material used for off-roading equipment.
History of Nerf: how did it start?
Today, it may safely be said that the history of Nerf started in 1969 when the Parker Brothers concluded the contract with Reyn Guyer, an American inventor.
Further history of Nerf is rich in successful debuts of Nerf blasters. For the period from 1989 to 1992, a foam ball and array were used as a projectile.
The successful history of Nerf continued in the 90s with the expansion of the arrow-shooting guns into guns that fired missiles and suction darts.
The advanced technology of Nerf won popularity striking the imagination. But it continues to improve from year to year.
History of Nerf gun’s development
Nerf toy guns have gone the long eventful way from the first Nerf ball-launching toy to modern high-powered Nerf blasters.
The first Nerf toy gun was invented by Jon Lindenmayer, an engineer at the Parker Brothers company, and released in 1989.
Lindenmayer was born in 1944 and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in mechanical engineering. Upon graduating the college, he began to work in the toy industry. When working at Parker Brothers, he eventually became the head of research and development.
The idea of a toy gun invention came to Lindenmayer in the middle of the 80s after playing with his children and noticing how much fun they had shooting foam balls at each other. Having rich engineering experience, Lindenmayer managed to invent a toy that could compete with the fun of laser tag but without the need for expensive equipment.
However, it would be logical to start the Nerf gun history with the foam ball invention.
Nerf ball as a trigger to Nerf gun invention
A Nerf ball that started the history of the Nerf brand was made of spongy synthetic soft foam. The soft fun ball was invented by Reyn Guyer, an American inventor, who in 1969 represented the idea of soft foam balls to Parker Brothers, an American toy manufacturer.
Polyurethane foam balls impressed the toy company management so strongly that they decided to market it under the Nerf brand. Nerf balls officially entered the market as an indoor ball in 1969. This was the date of the first appearance of Nerf.
The Nerf balls became a favorite toy for all children. This worldwide love resulted in sales of over four million Nerf balls by 1970.
Nerf foam balls thanks to their soft foam features excluding the damage or injury risk to children won great success among customers.
Firstly the Nerf polyurethane balls were 4 inches in diameter. Later on, the bigger model of the polyurethane ball, the Super Nerf Ball, appeared on the market in 1970.
In 1972, Nerf started the manufacture of Nerf basketball games, Nerfoop, and a little bit later, Nerf football games. These products belong to the Sports series released under the Nerf brand.
Nerf Nerfoop, released in 1972, is a toy sports game loved by kids. It lets them enjoy the pleasure of playing mini basketball with an easy-to-hold 4-inch foam ball.
The toy includes a mini Nerf foam basketball and a hoop with a backboard. The hoop has a backboard and net. It hooks on doors for easy set-up indoors and outdoors.
Nerf footballs are a beloved toy for children and adults alike. These soft and safe foam footballs are designed to be played indoors or outdoors.
Nerf has created a huge number of sports toys with a wide range of sizes, colors, and designs available.
In 1983, the Sports division of the Nerf brand was added with Nerf baseball, an American game that could be safely played inside the rooms.
Nerf ping pong
The 4-square Ping Pong set was the successor to the Ping Pong set released in 1982. In 1998, it was replaced by the 4-square Net Challenge set.
Nerf Ping Pong set can be used both for a standard two-player game and for a four-player game.
The four-player game is set up so all players have at least one player next to them and one player across.
The first Nerf gun
So, the history of Nerf began with the Nerf balls. The first indoor balls were just foam toys that could bounce.
Rapid advances in Nerf history came with the first Nerf gun invention.
First Nerf gun manufacturing started only in 1989. This became a real revolution in the history of Nerf.
Nerf Blast-a-Ball is the first Nerf blaster
In 1969, after 20 years of company foundation, Nerf released its first gun called “Blast-a-Ball” with two blasters and two balls available.
Until this time there were no blasters. There were only Nerf balls and disks. The new product could blast a ball from a tube.
After loading the nerf projectiles you should pull it back and push forward with the maximum possible force. Foam balls would fire out at very high speed producing a loud popping noise.
One year later, in 1990 Nerf released its upgraded version called “Blast-a-Matic” able to blast three foam balls without reloading.
Generally, its mode of action is similar to that of Blast-a-Ball. It may be said that Blast-a-Matic is a direct successor of Blast-a-Ball.
When were Nerf guns invented? In 1991, Nerf introduced a new model called “Bow ‘n’ Arrow”. The name reflected that it was designed to shoot arrows as a projectile and resembled a bow.
The Bow-n-Arrow invented by Mark Rappaport was the first Nerf gun to fire arrows. It has bowstrings that are only for aesthetic purposes. There are two arrow holders located on the upper side of the blaster.
Further, it was upgraded to the model called “Sonic Stringer Bow-n-Arrow” which was added with plastic buzzing tips and the Big Bad Bow. They also introduced other arrow-firing blasters capable of firing Nerf Darts.
Sharpshooter is the first Nerf gun firing foam darts
In 1992, Nerf released Sharpshooters, the first Nerf dart blaster, which quickly gained popularity among players. Sharpshooter was the first Nerf dart gun.
Over time, types of Nerf darts appear to be used in the Nerf blasters. Mega darts were followed by Micro darts among which various versions appeared.
The Longshot CS-6 was the first Nerf blaster in which Streamline darts were used. These darts gained popularity after the introduction of the N-Strike series.
In 2012, Nerf history was marked with new success thanks to the release of the Nerf N-Strike Elite series.
Elite dart, a new universal ammunition type, superseded previous projectiles of dart blasters.
Nerf disk guns
When Nerf dart guns don’t fit for indoor battles the Nerf disc guns may become the best alternative.
The First disk blaster, SuperMAXX Disc Shooter, was released in 1998.
Unfortunately, the disk blasters didn’t meet significant popularity among customers. So, Nerf refused the idea of their release.
However, thirteen years later, in 2011, with the Vortex series launching the disc blasters were revived.
Today there are five most popular disk blasters of the Nerf Vortex series: Vigilon, Praxis, Pilagon, Diatron, and Revonix 360.
Nerf Super Soaker
The Super Soaker is a model of water gun that shoots water using manually-pressurized air.
The Super Soaker was invented in 1989 by Lonnie Johnson. It represented the assembly of PVC pipe, acrylic glass, and an empty plastic soda bottle.
In 1991, the first official appearance of Super Soaker on the market under the Nerf brand resulted in 2 million water guns being sold.
Since that time, Super Soaker has become so popular that the term “super soaker” is sometimes used to refer to any type of outdoor toy water gun.
Nerf gun series designed for girls
In 2013 Nerf released the first Nerf gun specifically aimed at girls. They were characterized by their color scheme which differed from that traditionally accepted for a “boy toy”.
The “Rebelle” line was released by Nerf in February 2013 and included female-specific accessories in pink, purple, and teal colors.
Ultimate Nerf Blaster Book
In 2013, Nathaniel Marunas published the first official Nerf book, a comprehensive visual guide to the main parameters, functions, mode of action, and other properties of Nerf guns.
It covers the spectrum of Nerf designs and accessories, from the Nerf balls developed nearly 50 years ago to the innovative blaster models such as the N-Strike Elite series.
This is a full-color hard-cover encyclopedia abundant with bright photos and facts, explanations of complicated features, and descriptions of each blaster’s history.
What are the downsides of Nerf toy guns in recent years?
Due to the product’s continuous improvement, which has led to higher speeds, it became necessary to reevaluate safety matters. According to some medical reports, in London, England, increasing eye injuries arising from Nerf guns are observed.
With this regard, Hasbro has published cautionary safety instructions for players.
Unlabelled parts of Nerf ammunition such as bullet heads are of particular concern. Among the victims were both adults and children.
In all cases, treatment with eyedrops resulted in a return to full vision and complete cessation of inflammation. However, concerns remain about future casualties. This worry is fuelled by online enthusiasts showing how to modify the guns for greater force and speed.
The Nerf toy guns invented by Jon Lindenmayer, an engineer who worked for the toy company Parker Brothers, are the most popular toy weapons among ever existed on the world market.
However, recently some downsides were detected in Nerf toy guns. This is related to safety matters associated with increasing speed and force.
Though the problems have been solved successfully safety matters are the primary objectives of any manufacturer.
Of course, the Nerf toy gun will likely continue to evolve. More advanced models may be released due to the rapid development of information technologies, such as voice recognition and artificial intelligence.
But it is also likely that the Nerf toy gun will remain a favorite brand for generations the childhood of which passed hand in hand with this fascinating game.
The Nerf toy gun has changed the way people play and had a positive effect on the toy industry. It has also had a positive impact on children, as it encourages physical activity and social skills.
Why is Nerf called Nerf?
There are different theories concerning the issue. Some consider that it is an acronym for “non-expanding recreational foam”.
Others say that Nerf is a slang word for padding used in off-road racing. The Nerf padding protects the cars from damage.
However, Reyn Guyer, a Nerf’s inventor, stuck up for the second theory.
What is the oldest Nerf dart?
Since the oldest Nerf dart gun is a sharpshooter it would be logical to assume that the oldest Nerf dart was used for a Sharpshooter, the first Nerf dart gun. These were Mega Darts released in 1993, and a year later replaced by Micro Darts.
Who invented Nerf guns and why?
According to official data, the inventor of the Nerf gun is Jon Lindenmayer, an engineer who worked for the toy company Parker Brothers. He was inspired to invent the Nerf gun after playing with his children and noticing how much fun they had shooting foam balls at each other.
What year did the Nerf ball come out?
Nerf balls were introduced to the market in 1969.