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Monopoly information


The Hasbro version of the history of Monopoly is bullshit. The real history is closer to this very abridged version, which is supported by patents, Ralph Anspach's research and book, the article excerpted at the link below, and The Monopoly Companion (Philip Orbanes' book): Lizzie Magie invented a game called The Landlord's Game to push Henry George's Single Tax concept. The lesson intended was that only land should be taxed; anything else is bad for the masses and only good for the rich—that this evolved into Monopoly is not too surprising.

Magie introduced it to her Quaker friends and apparently sold (a very few) copies. She brought the game to George Parker of Parker Brothers, who turned it down (the game was intended to instruct, not entertain, and would not have sold well in that form), but he suggested she get patent protection for the game. The game mutated. Friends copied it, and it spread around, apparently as far as Texas in some cases. People would change the names of the streets to suit local taste, adding new rules.

Several people released derivative versions. Charles B. Darrow was one of them. He ripped off pretty much everything, apparently, down to the names of the streets, from an Atlantic City version. Darrow patented his game, and sold the patent and copyright of his edition to Parker Brothers. Parker Brothers, now headed by Richard Barton, son-in-law of George Parker, bought Magie's patent, a second patent on a derivative game with more of the rules of Monopoly but a somewhat different board, and the rights to another game called Finance, and as many Monopoly boards as they could find, in order to support their trademark claim on what was already a well-known term.

Parker Brothers has since been acquired by General Mills, then Hasbro, and has aggressively defended their Monopoly trademark and brand.


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last modified by tjs at Thu Jun 22 13:42:38 2006 > Monopoly
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