Paintball Looked Far More Insane In The 1900s

Paintball is one of the most fun things you can do at a birthday party and one of the least fun things you can do as a corporate team-building activity. It also existed long before CO tanks and fancy balls filled with colored corn syrup.

The past had a lot fewer fancy balls.Dr. Graeme M. Hammond and C.B. MillerThe past had a lot fewer fancy balls.

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By the early 1900s, dueling had been illegal in the U.S. for nearly a century, but that didn't stop manly men from still wanting to shoot at each other. As a response, some nerdy gun enthusiasts invented wax bullets that could be shot out of old-timey pistols. With them, sports clubs starting having mock duels -- like fencing, but without any of the skill or pageantry.

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“These guns are for waxing, not wacking.”Dr. Graeme M. Hammond and C.B. Miller“These guns are for waxing, not wacking.”

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While some more bloodthirsty academics compared the act of pretend-murdering your friends to "close on child's play," wax bullet duels weren't without their hazards. One duelist recalled how his shot accidentally tore the webbed skin between his opponent's thumb and index finger. That might explain why later participants had guards on their pistols and dressed up like the first ever steampunk LARPers.

Sometimes, to prove your manhood, you have to dress like a complete idiot.Dr. Graeme M. Hammond and C.B. MillerSometimes, to prove your manhood, you have to dress like a complete idiot.

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Can't have paintball without a CO2 tank!

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