The Monopoly history


In 2015, as indicated by the manufacturer’s website, we have been celebrating the 80th anniversary of Monopoly. A worldwide success for this game born in 1935 in the imagination of Charles Darrow, an unemployed man of the 1930s, who became a millionaire thanks to his invention. A beautiful story. But there is only one flaw: it is fake!

In a recent book, American journalist Mary Pilon tells us the true origins of a game born out of a woman’s political will, Lizzie Magie, to bring to the greatest number the progressive ideas of American intellectual Henry George and his masterpiece Progress and Poverty (1879). At the beginning of the 20th century, she invented its Landlord’s Game with her land purchases, taxes on the rich and her denunciation of monopolies. She obtained a patent in January 1904 and began its commercialization. This was followed by an incredible story: played in the utopian community of Arden in Delaware, which made its own sets and started to call it Monopoly. The quakers of Atlantic City changed the rules and, from hand to hand, the game moved on to Philadelphia, where a couple taugh it to their friends, the Darrows…

Original defect

Charles asked a cartoonist to make him a nice tray, then he started selling the game. One of the biggest manufacturers in the industry, Parker Brothers, bought it from him. In December 1935, the company quickly obtained a patent and bought his own from Lizzie Magie for 500 dollars. Parker Brothers knew the true origin of the game…
Sales were then skyrocketing. In the United States, then all over the world. Charles Darrow was always ready to give interviews to explain how he invented “his” game. In the 1960s, a few witnesses to the true story began to mobilize, but nothing really happened. Until 1974, when Parker Brothers made a huge mistake.

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