The history of Monopoly begins before Charles Darrow and Parker Brothers. To find the first true version you must go back to 1904 and meet a woman named Elizabeth Magie (pronounced McGee). ²It was in 1904 that Lizzie was granted a patent for a board game called The Landlord’s Game. Lizzie was a Georgist and advocated his single tax theory. The Landlord’s Game was designed as a learning tool to teach this theory. This game was published in 1906 by the Economic Game Company with little success. The game did however gain a cult following in the Northeast and Midwest through the teens and twenties. Most of these games were hand made and were amended as the maker saw fit. Elizabeth Magie-Phillips (now married) obtained a new patent on an updated Landlord’s Game in 1924.


Uno was invented in 1971 by a man named Merle Robbins. Supposedly, he had an argument with his son about the rules of another popular card game, Crazy Eights. ¹ After becoming the card game of choice of the Robbins’, the family saved up $8,000 and manufactured the first 5,000 Uno decks, selling them out of Merle’s barber shop. By 1981, the game was hugely popular, so Merle sold the rights to the game to International Games for $50,000 plus royalties. The card game is now produced by Mattel and is still going strong.


³Milton Bradley himself, the founder of the company, printed and sold a game called The Checkered Game of Life in 1860. As 1960 approached, the Milton Bradley Company enlisted independent inventor Reuben Klamer to come up with a game that would commemorate the firm’s 100th anniversary. Klamer took the “Life” name from the 1860 predecessor but created a completely new game for a new era.


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