Some call them daubers, some call them dabbers – but no matter what you call them, you can’t play bingo without them.
Bingo daubers are essential in the game to mark off the numbers on your card, helping players get closer to winning the game. But what is the history behind daubers, and when were bingo daubers invented?
In this article, we’re going to look at how they became so essential to the game, as well as the controversies that arose when people started playing the game online.
What are daubers?
Quite simply, bingo daubers are a type of ink pen used to mark paper bingo cards. Many confuse them with felt tips, but there are several distinctions in design.
Daubers are a small plastic bottle with sponge tip, filled with translucent ink. They are used during bingo to ensure a visible translucent mark can be left when a player’s number is called.
Daubers are designed so ink can flow freely without getting over a player’s hand. The transparent ink ensures people can still see your numbers after they have been marked.
There are many different types of daubers available, with various wacky novelty designs, as well as a choice between disposable and reusable. They are so integral to bingo, that many players won’t even shout “bingo”, instead opting to just wave their dauber in the air when they’ve got a full house.
Any regular bingo player will find it hard not to leave the house without their dauber..
Many bingo players will not leave the house without their dauber.
The history of bingo daubers
The origins of bingo date back to the 1500’s, when it was originally named Beano, due to how players marked their cards with beans. It didn’t cross over to America until the early 20th century but became extremely popular very quickly.
However, this is where people realized the problem with using beans as markers. If a table was bumped, beans would fly off cards, and they would be inaccurately marked as a result.
The solution of the dauber did not come overnight. Initially, cards with sliding windows or plastic discs were used as an alternative to beans.
Then, in the late 20th century, bingo daubers were invented and suddenly the game changed overnight. Now, players will specifically buy daubers just to play bingo – and wouldn’t dream of visiting a traditional bingo hall without one in their bag.
Many players even make their own daubers, customizing them to fit their own style. The component materials of a dauber are bottles, ink and tips, and they can be bought separately from bingo supply websites.
However, it is important to remember that refilling dauber ink can be particularly messy. There are specialist tools to help with this though, including a lifter that can remove ink tips easily.
Once bought, or built, bingo daubers have a long shelf life. As long as you put the cap back on after use, they won’t dry out.
Make sure you store them with the tip down to ensure the sponge top doesn’t dry out. This longevity and ease of use is why they’re popular outside of the bingo hall – many teachers now use daubers for group activities with students.
The switch to playing bingo online
In recent years, attendance at bingo halls has began to steadily drop, while online bingo use has exploded into the millions. But when players first made the move online, there was some controversy over how daubers were used.
People believed that the move online would be the end of bingo daubers.
Whereas on a real game, you would have to keep your eyes on your cards to mark off each number, many online sites automatically do this step for you. This proved controversial to players – while it ensured they could never miss a number, it did take away an aspect that is viewed as integral to the game.
The auto daub is an important evolution, that makes it easier to play multiple cards at once and have a better chance of winning. This ensures you never miss a bingo, but for some players, this removed some of the thrill of playing.
Luckily, many sites heard this criticism and adapted accordingly, with several sites now offering both auto daub and manual daub options. Here, you can turn the auto daub on and off as you please.
The advancement of technology has ensured that whenever you have a winning card, you will not miss out on the prize. You can still mark your own cards – but the computer will know if you have missed a trick.
As for the daubers themselves, they too have been revolutionized by the switch online. If you have enjoyed designing your own to take to the bingo hall, then you’ll definitely enjoy creating one for the virtual world.
Online bingo sites offer the player a choice of virtual dauber shapes and colours, allowing you to express your personality in the same way. Plus, there’s a lot less chance of you getting ink over your hands here too.