In 1968, Reyn Guyer began a new Toy and Game Development Company which he called Winsor Concepts. He hired Martin Lundquist, Norton Cross, Ken Barnes, Will Kruse, and Barbara Griggs and created a workspace adjacent to The Reynolds Guyer Agency of Design. While the group was working on a 'caveman' game, Will Kruse began bouncing one of the foam 'rocks' over a net. That was Nerf's AAAHHH moment. Reyn and his team all proceeded to cut foam balls out of different weights of foam packing material.
Norton Cross found a manufacturer who cut foam with heated wire. The team created five or six game ideas using the foam balls. Reyn and Norton went to the Milton Bradley Company which had succeeded with the Twister game three years earlier. Milton Bradley turned the ideas down.
The ideas were next shown to Henry Simmons, the New Product Development Director for Parker Brothers. Simmons and his team, to the disappointment of the Winsor Concepts group, decided to put the foam balls in a box and sell them individually. Parker Brothers decided to name the balls Nerf after the foam padding that off-the-road enthusiasts wrapped around their roll-bars.
In 1970, the Nerf ball was introduced as the "world's first official indoor ball". Marketed that one can "Throw it indoors; you can't damage lamps or break windows. You can't hurt babies or old people." The ball filled a strong consumer need and by the year's end more than four million Nerf balls had been sold. The four-inch (102 mm) ball was followed closely by a large version called "Super Nerf Ball". Shortly after, in 1972, a basketball game called "Nerfhoop" and the Nerf football joined the family.
The football quickly became the most popular Nerf ball. The company continued to add to the Nerf line until they handed control to Kenner Products, a sister company, in 1991, when Hasbro acquired the Nerf line through the acquisition of the Tonka Co. Over the years, the company has continued to expand the line, adding new looks to existing products. The current line of Nerf products range from various sport balls, blasters with both dart, rocket and ball ammunition, and now onto video game accessories.
Nerf has a wide range of foam balls that are molded to look like various sports balls. They are designed with different color schemes and features, and are less likely to cause damage since they are made from Nerf material.
The company also makes Nerf Blasters, which are toy guns used to shoot ammunition made of the Nerf material in ball, arrow and dart form. Various forms of dart ammunition are available, including a variety tipped with Velcro that can stick to Nerf vests, another tipped with suction cups designed to stick to smooth surfaces, a streamline dart that is used in many Nerf blasters, and a whistler dart that whistles while flying. Nerf is the most popular foam dart blaster brand.
Since the introduction of the NERF BALL, many inventors have contributed to the product extension of toy products which have, as their main ingredient, expanded polyether and polyester materials such as: Basketballs, Soccer balls, Baseballs, Footballs, Ping-pong balls & Pucks. Nerf also produced a new line of "Nerf N-Swords", which are swords that have a nerf material covering a plastic rod in the middle, which holds it together. Recently Hasbro has released a line of Nerf-branded Super Soakers.
What's your 'Nerf' worth? Here are some recently sold items (USA):
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