Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Anniversary of MONOPOLY – March 7th

March 7th is the Anniversary of MONOPOLY

Most of you are probably not aware of this. Nor was I, until my brilliant co-blogger and daughter, passed this tidbit of important information on to me. I was not exactly sure what I needed to do with this gem of information, but with the help of Wikipedia, a few other websites and my own memory, I found some interesting facts about this fabulously popular board game.

It all began back in 1904, when an American woman, Elizabeth (Lizzie) J. Magie Phillips created the game.  Ms. Phillips intended to illustrate the negative aspects of concentrating land in private monopolies.  It was call The Landlord’s Game and was commercially published in 1924.

Later, Parker Brothers published the game as Monopoly – named after the domination of a market by a single entity. The familiar logo was designed by Elizabeth Magie, Louis & Fred Than, and Charles Darrow.  Hasbro, Parker Brothers and Waddingtons have all published Monopoly. There is a World Championship and a National Championship held annually.

Here is a bit of fascinating information…in 1941 the British Secret Service had John Waddington Limited, the licensed manufacturer of the game outside the U.S., create a special edition. This special edition was created for World War II prisoners of war held by the Nazis. Hidden inside these games were maps, compasses, real money and other items useful for escaping. They were distributed to the prisoners by secret service that then created fake charity groups.

There have been some changes to the Monopoly board over the years. Some of the colors have been changed, as well some of the names.  Many of the tokens have been changed. Some of the previous tokens, before the 1950’s, were a lantern, a purse and a rocking horse. They were all created by Dowst Miniature Toy Company. In the U.S. versions, the properties are named after locations in, or near, Atlantic City. I never knew that, but what I do know is that in the 1930’s my brothers and I played Monopoly. There was lots of heckling and the games sometimes would go on for days.  It was a great pastime for kids, on rainy days or heavy snow days, living on a lake in Northwest Pennsylvania.

By Lois Jamieson

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