It's Nerf or Nothin'!
— Nerf's current motto
Nerf logo2

The current Nerf logo.

Nerf (trademarked in capitals as NERF) is a brand of toys currently owned by Hasbro. These toys are created for safe and/or indoor play that either shoots or is made of foam-like material. Most of the toys are a variety of foam-based weaponry, but there were also several different types of Nerf toys, such as balls for sports like football, basketball, and others. The most notable of the toys are the dart guns (referred to by Hasbro as "blasters") that shoot ammunition made from Nerf foam. Since many such items were released throughout the 1980s, they often featured bright neon colors and soft textures similar to the flagship Nerf Ball. The product slogan frequently used from the 1990s advertising is "It's Nerf or Nothin'!"


Nerf foam is made from a solid, spongy cellular material produced by the reaction of polyester with a disocyanate while carbon dioxide is liberated by the reaction of a carboxyl with the isocyanate. Polyester resin reacts with a compound while CO2 is simultaneously released by another reaction. It is this gas that creates open pockets within the polyurethane that, in turn, makes the material soft and light.


Main article: Nerf/History

The Nerf brand was started in 1969 by Parker Brothers, a toy company known for creating board games such as Monopoly and Clue, when they were approached by an inventor named Reyn Guyer, with an idea for an indoor volleyball game. Parker Brothers liked the concept, but ultimately scrapped the game and produce the four-inch foam ball as a stand-alone product in 1970; it was advertised that players can "Throw it indoors; you can't damage lamps or break windows. You can't hurt babies or old people." The product was a hit and sold more than four million units by the end of the year.

Following the Nerf Ball's success, Nerf released similar products that used soft foam for indoor play, including the Super Nerf Ball and the Football. Popularity grew and more product types were branched out to. The brand's interest in dart blasters began with a ball blaster in 1989: the Blast-a-Ball.

In 1991, the Nerf brand was sold to Kenner Products, a toy company known for action figures. Here, dart blasters were produced and sold, the first of which being the Sharpshooter. Shortly after being purchased by Kenner, Hasbro purchased Kenner Products and gained the rights to sell Nerf products. By 1995, the over one hundred million Nerf products had been sold.[1]

Larami, the company known for the Super Soaker brand at the time, dipped their hands in and helped develop some blasters, notably those under the SuperMAXX series. OddzOn, the creators of the Koosh brand, also created some products for the Nerf brand. By the early 2000s, development of Nerf's core products fell to Hasbro's hands.

In 2010, Nerf was merged with the recently acquired Super Soaker brand.

In 2011, Nerf won the awards for "Boy Toy of the Year" with the Stampede ECS and the "Outdoor Toy of the Year" with the Shot Blast from the 11th Annual Toy of the Year Awards, held at the American International Toy Fair held in New York City.

In the same year, Nerf sued its rival companies Lanard Toys and Buzz Bee Toys for patent violation for Super Soakers and Nerf-brand blasters; Lanard infringed the Disk Shot Set, while Buzz Bee infringed a patent on CPS blasters. Nerf won the lawsuit against Buzz Bee, who was banned from producing elastic-pressurized water blasters.


  • "There's only one Nerf." (classic)
  • "Get Real. Get Nerf." (classic 2)
  • "Play Your Game" (2003)
  • "It's Nerf or Nothin'!" (current)
  • "Accept No Invitation." (current 2)
  • "This Is How We Play." (current 3)
  • "Nothin’ but Nerf" (current 4)



  • The widely accepted acronym for Nerf (non-expanding recreational foam) is inaccurate, as the inventor has stated on his website that Nerf was named after the foam padding of bike handles.[2]


  1. Los Angeles Times: It's the Classics That Keep the Industry Going : Consumers: Everything from old favorites-- Slinkys--to 'Pocahontas' spinoffs and, yes, more action figures are being marketed at the Toy Fair..
  2. toys + games « Reyn Guyer Creative Group.

External links

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.