If you thought paintball was intense today, you’ll never believe how outrageous it was in the 1900s! We’re used to the fun, yet sometimes painful, team-building hobby. Colorful capsules shoot out of fancy CO-powered guns. It’s something to get friends or co-workers together for some good old fashioned war games. 0But that was not always the case.
I challenge you… to a duel!
The earliest version of this famous past-time came in the form of wax bullets shot out of real dueling pistols. Once the trend caught on, sports clubs began organizing mock duels for its members to have a go at each other.
It wasn’t a hit with some people, who weren’t huge fans of the violent game. I mean, wax bullets can cause real bodily harm. One man even had his skin between his thumb and index finger torn through, with one haphazard shot!
Cue the emergence of protective masks and suits! With the growing popularity and increasingly reckless behavior, regulations were put into place. Each duelist had to stand 60 feet apart, dressed in a black gown or coat.
They started shielding their heads with a covering that falls somewhere between scuba goggles and a welder’s mask. Even spectators had to take extreme caution and stand at a reasonably safe distance to avoid injury by stray bullets.
Competitive and fun!
This form of paintball obviously became enough of a trend that it persisted and morphed into the sport we play now. But did you know this wax model even appeared as a demonstration in the 1908 Summer Olympics?!
Wax bullets can still be found in certain gun competitions, but the population has certainly moved away from using them on the paintball course. In the 1960s, the Nelson Paint Company developed a gelatin-shelled sphere filled with oil-based paint, starting the evolution of the beloved game we play today.