A History of Paint Ball Gear Sites

January 28th, 2010 by admin Leave a reply »

Modern Paint Ball guns were a natural progression from a ‘Ping Pong Gun’ that was used by many young ‘Warriors’ in the 1950’s. This ‘Toy’ would fire Ping Pong balls under air pressure. A hit wasn’t as painful as a modern unprotected ‘Paintball’ hit, because of the deceleration of the very light projectile.

Then the Daisy Manufacturing Company of ‘BB Gun’ fame came up with the first Paint Ball Gun. The first Paint Ball gun was invented (1970) and patented by a Daisy Employee, James Hale (U.S. patent 3,788, 298 issued on January 29, 1974.) with the original intent of use by the Forest Service and ranchers marking trees for harvest and cattle for selection. The first gun actually designed for playing Paintball was the Splatmaster invented by Robert G Shepherd. This U.S. patent number 4,531,503 was issued to Shepherd on July 30, 1985.

The Forestry version (Nel-spot 007 pistols) was used in a game of ‘Capture the Flag’ in 1981, boys will be boys. By 1982 some of the entrepreneurial players from that ‘Capture the Flag’ game, started National Survival Games (NSG) and opening paint ball fields. Charles Gaines, founded NSG. PMI (Pursuit Marketing Inc.) was founded for the distribution and marketing of Paint Ball products and paint ball gear sites. Caleb Strong opened the first outdoor paintball gear site in 1982 in upstate New York. Being in upstate New York, Caleb also opened the first indoor paintball gear site in Buffalo in 1984.

The early marketing of the new sport included articles written by quite a few of those early players and published in Sports Illustrated and other sports genre.

Once established it was only natural to set up a Championship Contest. This was done in 1983 at a paint ball gear site with a purse of $14,000 cash. The sport also went international in 1983 with the opening of an outdoor paintball gear site in Toronto.

More International Venues were added beginning with Australia in 1984, France and Denmark in 1991 with the rest of Europe soon to follow. An indoor paintball gear site was erected in England by 1985.

I’m sure quite a few Wives, Mothers and anyone who does their own laundry are grateful to George A. Skogg who in 1987 patented a “washable marking fluid formulation for soft gelatin capsules” – a Paintball bullet recipe (U.S. patent 4,634,606 granted January 6, 1987.) The fluid when packaged in a soft gelatin capsule produced projectiles that were more accurate and stable and made bright, highly visible marks that could be easily washed out with water and/or detergent and were ideally suitable for use in the sports and games exercises. Skogg worked for the Nelson Paint Company and this patent became the Nelson recipe for Paintballs.


In 1988 The IPPA (International Paintball Players Association) was founded. This is a non-profit association dedicated to the education, growth and safety of the sport of paintball. During the period 1992-1993 NPPL (National Professional Paintball League ) was founded and the NPPL Pro-Am Series began with paint ball gear site tournaments set up in Reno, New York, Boston, and other cities around the U.S..

It was inevitable that television would become involved. How could it ‘NOT’ be included. In 1993 ESPN aired it’s filming of the NPPL ‘DC Cup’ from Bowie, Maryland, organized by the PCRI (Paintball Ratings and Competitions International). As interest expanded in 1996 ESPN aired the ESPN World Championships of Paintball from Orlando, Florida.

And of course the Internet would become a venue. In 1994 Warpig introduced the first internet paintball gear site.

The game has exploded into a multimillion-dollar sport with amateur and professional tournaments across the United States and Europe. Paintball Gear Sites are opening every day now, all over the world. Cash purses and prizes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars are involved. Daisy (manufacturer of pellets, B.B.s and air guns), Crossman (manufacturer of airguns), Scott USA (manufacturer of ski poles and goggles) and JT USA (manufacturer of motocross safety equipment) are just a few of the companies that have expanded into paintball paraphernalia and equipment. Sponsors of modern tournaments include companies such as Budweiser and Pepsi-Cola and who know’s what’s next. (Toy’s r Us, Ruger).

Copyright © 2006 C. R. Ellsworth

By: C R Ellsworth