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Fascinating facts about the invention of
Monopoly
by Charles Darrow in 1935.

MONOPOLY®
AT A GLANCE:

Monopoly was first marketed on a broad scale by Parker Brothers on November 5, 1935..Today, an estimated 500 million players from around the globe have been mesmerized by the MONOPOLY® game since its creation by Charles B. Darrow. It remains a classic, passed down from generation to generation, making it the world's most popular game. 
THE STORY
RELATED INFO
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WHERE TO FIND
DID YOU KNOW?
Invention: Monopoly®
Drawing from patent no.2,026,082 courtesy www.uspto.gov
Definition: noun / Trademark for board game
Function: Board game. The conditions for winning are based on the acquisition of wealth through a stylized version of economic activity involving the purchase, rental and trading of real estate using play money.
Patent: 2,026,082 (US) issued December 31, 1935
Inventor: Charles B. Darrow
NO
IMAGE
AVAILABLE
Criteria: Modern prototype. Entrepreneur.
Birth: August 10, 1889
Death: August 29, 1967
Nationality: American
Milestones:
1883 George S. Parker publishes and market a game he had invented called BANKING.
1904 The Landlord's Game, patented by Lizzie Magie
1910 published by the Economic Game Company of New York.
1924 Lizzie Magie issued another patent for her enhanced board game, September 24, 1924
1929 Ruth Hoskins and friends changed the game street names to street names.in Atlantic City
1932 "Finance",
patented by Dan Layman,by the Economic Game Co.for Knapp Toys and Games
1933 Charles Darrow manufactures 5,000 Monopoly games and sells them at a Philadelphia store.
1935 Charles Darrow issued a patent for Monopoly, December 31, 1935.Assigned to Parker Brothers
1935 Monopoly board game,
Marketed on a broad scale by Parker Brothers on November 5.
1938 "Inflation," manufactured by a Texan named Rudy Copeland..
1948 All Monopoly game boards sold prior to 1949 carry both Magie's and Darrow's patents.
1974 'Anti-Monopoly' marketed by Ralph Anspach
1983
U. S. Supreme Court found for Anspach because Darrow did not actually invent the game
Monopoly, board game,
Charles Darrow, The Landlord's Game, Lizzie Magie, Ruth Hoskins, Finance, Dan Layman, Inflation, Anti-Monopoly, Rudy Copeland, Ralph Anspach, invention, history, inventor of, history of, who invented, invention of, fascinating facts.
The Story:
Monopoly was first marketed on a broad scale by Parker Brothers on November 5, 1935..Today, an estimated 500 million players from around the globe have been mesmerized by the MONOPOLY® game since its creation. It remains a classic, passed down from generation to generation, making it the world's most popular game. 

Although Monopoly is frequently said to have been invented by Charles Darrow in 1935, its origins actually go back to when Lizzie Magie, patented
748,626 (US) issued January 5, 1904, a game called "The Landlord's Game" with the object of demonstrating how rents enrich property owners and impoverish tenants. She knew that some people can find it hard to understand why this happens and what might be done about it and she thought that if Georgist ideas (that is, a supporter of political economist Henry George), were put into the concrete form of a game, they might be easier to demonstrate.

This original game was enjoyable but although patented it was not taken up by a manufacturer until 1910 when it was published in the US by the Economic Game Company of New York. Apart from commercial distribution, it spread by word of mouth and was played in slightly variant home-made versions over the years by Quakers, Georgists, university students and others who became aware of it. As it spread, its rules were changed, most notably in dropping the second phase of the game during which a Land tax was introduced to replace the other taxes, and the shortened game became known as "Auction Monopoly".

It was often localized; the original fanciful property names being replaced by street names from the cities where the players lived. By the late 1920s it was known as just plain "Monopoly" and was played very much as it is now. One version of the game, commonly played in the Philadelphia area, had Atlantic City street name. In 1929 Ruth Hoskins began playing Monopoly in Indianapolis with her brother James and his friend Robert Frost "Pete" Daggett Jr., who was a friend of Dan Layman.

In 1933, Charles B. Darrow played a game on oil cloth on his kitchen table, fell in love with the game's exciting promise of fame and fortune. He played "Monopoly" at home with his family and friends. But others soon heard of the game and ordered sets of their own. Later that year Charles Darrow patented and sold copies of the game as his personal invention. Darrow went to work, making hand-made copies of Monopoly and selling them for $4.00 apiece.

When demand for the game grew beyond his ability to fill orders, he brought the game to Parker Brothers who first rejected it on the basis there were 52 design errors. Undaunted, Darrow continued to produce handmade editions on his own and was highly successful. Parker Brothers caught wind of the success and decided to buy the rights to the game. In 1935, owned by Parker Brothers, the MONOPOLY® game became America's best selling game. Parker Brothers subsequently decided to pay off Magie, and others who had copyrighted commercial variants of the game, in order to have legitimate, undisputed rights to the game, and promoted Darrow as its sole inventor.

After buying up Lizzie Magie's patent for $500 and no royalties, Parker Brothers marketed a few hundred sets of The Landlord's Game and then buried it forever. Then it turned to a more dangerous flaw in the plans to rescue the firm with Monopoly: "A game surprisingly similar to Darrow's and known as Monopoly was played on homemade boards in the DKE house at Williams College in 1927 et seq. It developed in Reading, Pa., much earlier than that.

"Almost exactly this same game as played at Williams was put on the market in Indianapolis early in 1932 through L. S. Ayres & Co. The name was changed to Finance for trademark reasons. Dan Layman's predecessor Finance. That cost more money: $10,000. But none of it went to Layman. A victim of the Great Depression, broke and desperate for money, he had sold his interest in Finance to a small games manufacturer, David W. Knapp, for $200.

Once Finance was wrapped up, Parker Brothers turned to another Monopoly-like game called "Inflation," manufactured by a Texan named Rudy Copeland. Early in 1936 Parker Brothers sued Copeland for patent infringement. Copeland countersued, charging that Darrow's and therefore Parker Brothers' patent on Monopoly was invalid. If the details forming the basis for that charge had become public knowledge, Parker Brothers might never have gone to reap a fortune from Monopoly. But Parker settled the lawsuit immediately by paying Copeland $10,000 to surrender his rights and keep his mouth shut.

Decades later, when they attempted to suppress publication of a game called Anti-Monopoly, designed by Ralph Anspach, the trademark suit went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1983, and the court found in favor of Anspach because Darrow did not actually invent the game.

There is no accounting for the unrivaled devotion that the MONOPOLY® game has garnered over the past sixty years. Some say it is the chance to build a fortune, take a risk, make an acquisition. Others insist it is the drama of competition. Edward P. Parker, former president of Parker Brothers suggested that the magic of the game MONOPOLY® is "clobbering your best friend without doing any damage."

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INFORMATION:
History of Toys and Games   from The Great Idea Finder

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle: And Other Surprising Stories About Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson / Paperback - 128 pages (1999) / Puffin
Brief factual stories about how various familiar things were invented, many by accident, from animal crackers to the zipper.
Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things
by Charles Panati / Paperback - 480 pages Reissue edition (September 1989) / HarperCollins
Discover the fascinating stories behind the origins of over 500 everyday items, expressions, inventions and customs.
Monopoly: The Story Behind the World's Best-Selling Game
by Rod Kennedy / Paperback: 96 pages / Gibbs Smith, Publisher (December 7, 2004)
Most people probably don't think about the fact that the colored properties on the Monopoly board are based on real places in a real city, they just know that Monopoly was the best way to pass a rainy Saturday afternoon with family and friends.
The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle (Limited availability)
by Ralph Anspach / Paperback: 320 pages / Xlibris Corp. 2 Ed edition (October 10, 2000)
Part detective novel, part history, and part horror story, The Billion Dollar Monopoly® Swindle not only recounts the true history behind one of the world's most popular board games but also reveals a world where the law sometimes seems as arbitrary and unfair as a "Go directly to jail" card.
The A-Z of Card Games
by David Parlett / Paperback: 441 pages / Oxford University Press; 2nd edition (November 30, 2004)
Here are the origins and development of our favorite games, from the Egyptian and Asian ancestors of Chess, Checkers, and Backgammon, to the invention of such modern classics as Monopoly, Clue, and Scrabble.

ON THE SCREEN:
History of Toys and Games
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 100 Minutes / The History Channel / Less than $30.00
As long as there have been children, there have been toys. And from wooden tops to virtual reality, America has always taken its playthings pretty seriously. Hear the fascinating stories of the young-at-heart inventors who created some of the most famous games and toys of all time, and meet the people who play for a living, trying to anticipate what kids will fall for next holiday season.


ON THE WEB:

Monopoly Links Page
Who invented monopoly links page and Lizzie Magie’s Landlord’s Game. Read the article called The Monopolization of Monopoly by Burton H. Wolfe -Excerpts from The San Francisco Bay Guardian
April 23, 1976. Excellent investigative reporting. He knew the truth was out there!
(URL: www.adena.com/adena/mo/index.htm)
The Link That Binds Thee
Well, it definitely looks like a game from the early 1900’s. You can tell because of the board and it’s handmade. And look at some of these names: “Soakum Lighting System”, “Rickety Row”… It’s really unusual. But, you know, I’ve appraised a lot of early monopoly boards, but I’ve never seen anything quite like this- it’s really unique. From the History Detective-PBS series. (
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat Reader required )
(URL: www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/pdf/202_monopoly.pdf)

Banking Game
In 1883, an enterprising 16-year-old boy named George S. Parker took $40 of his total $50 life savings to publish and market a game he had invented called BANKING. Little did he know that this small investment would lead to the founding of one of America's oldest and largest game manufacturers, Parker Brothers.
(URL: www.hasbro.com/default.cfm?page=ci_history_pb)
Monopoly® Board Collection at the Forbes Galleries
The Monopoly® game passed through many stages of evolution before it was marketed by Parker Brothers in the form familiar to us all today. On view are several versions of the world’s most popular board game: the Monopoly® game’s forerunner, the Landlord’s Game (1920); Charles Todd’s rendition introducing Atlantic City street names (1932); and Charles Darrow’s homemade set (1933).
(URL: www.forbesgallery.com/monopoly.html)
The Landlord's Game to Monopoly
The Landlord's Game by Lizzie Magie Phillips, early folk monopoly, and related games are pictured along with rules, articles, history, and more Monopoly history. The Landlords Game was the predecessor to all Monopoly games!
(URL: tt.tf/gamehist/mon-index.html)
AntiMonopoly
Soon after Anti-Monopoly hit the market in November 1974, General Mills, the then owner of Monopoly and the Monopoly trademark, ordered them to destroy the game and apologize publicly for calling it Anti-Monopoly. They now have a license granted by Hasbro to use "Monopoly".
(URL: www.antimonopoly.com)
Official Monopoly Web Site
Official site of the board games Monopoly.Lots of COOKIES at this site and POP-UP ADS..
(URL: www.hasbro.com/default.cfm?page=ci_history_monopoly)
Association of Game & Puzzle Collectors
The Association of Game & Puzzle Collectors (AGPC), founded in 1985 by Bruce Whitehill, is the world's foremost organization dedicated to the collection and preservation of games and puzzles.

(URL:www.agpc.org/mambo/index.php)
Go to Court, Go Directly to Court
"This is a quintessential American story," remarks Ralph Anspach, "where the company that is making Monopoly is itself a monopoly." Article by Doug Collins, for the Washington Free Press.
(URL: www.washingtonfreepress.org/36/court.html)
Present At The Creation
In its current and well-known incarnation, the game is so firmly capitalist that it was once banned in Russia and China and is still outlawed in North Korea and Cuba. For Morning Edition, NPR's Juan Williams examines the evolution of Monopoly.
(URL: www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/patc/monopoly/)
BoardGameGeek
BoardGameGeek is an online board gaming resource and community. The site is updated on a real-time basis by its large and still growing user base, making the 'Geek the largest and most up-to-date place to get gaming information!
(URL: www.boardgamegeek.com/newuser.php)


WHERE TO FIND:
Disney Monopoly Box Game
by Hasbro / ASIN: B00005JG32 / Less than $32.00

All of your favorite Disney characters are featured in classic Monopoly style for a family game that everyone can enjoy. You already know how to play, so nothing has changed--except a few things that actually make this version collectible. Solid pewter moving pieces feature Snow White, a coupled Lady & The Tramp, Cinderella, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Alice, and Baboo. Property is represented as a cottage and the Prince's well-known castle. Scrooge McDuck, naturally, is featured on all Monopoly money in place of Rich Uncle Pennybags.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Over 200 million games have been sold worldwide. More than five billion little green houses have been "built" since 1935.
  • A set made by Alfred Dunhill, with gold houses and silver hotels, sold for $25,000.
  • The longest game in history lasted 70 straight days.
  • In its current and well-known incarnation, the Monopoly game is so firmly capitalist that it was once banned in Russia and China and is still outlawed in North Korea and Cuba.
  • In 1970, a few years after Charles Darrow's death, Atlantic City erected a commemorative plaque in his honor. It stands on the Boardwalk, near the juncture of Park Place.
  • Sometimes, circumstances call for a special MONOPOLY® set to be used. The students of Juniata College in Huntington, PA had a "big idea" in the spring of 1987 and turned part of their campus into a MONOPOLY® board larger than a city block. Giant foam rubber cubes were used for dice, and bicycle messengers with walkie-talkies kept players informed of their moves.
  • In 1978, Neiman Marcus demonstrated its good taste by offering a $600 full-size chocolate MONOPOLY® game in its Christmas catalog. Requests came pouring in from chocolate and game lovers alike. And in 1991, the Franklin Mint issued a collectible MONOPOLY® game selling for $550 that included gold and silver pieces.
Monopoly® is a registered trademark of Hasbro, Inc. All rights reserved.
Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type. This page revised November 30, 2006.
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