This Day in Business History: Monopoly Patented – Pass Go Collect $2021

Monopoly Board Game

December 31, 1935: Charles B. Darrow patented the real-estate board game, Monopoly (Patent Number 2,026,082). Although Darrow has been given credit for creating the now “ubiquitous winner-take-all board game,” it was actually invented in 1903 by Elizabeth “Lizzie” Magie. Magie created the pre-cursor to Monopoly, The Landlord’s Game, as an educational tool to help explain the exploitation of tenants by avaricious landlords. However during the Great Depression, Darrow was unemployed and in need of money decided to utilize and distribute the game for himself under the name Monopoly. In 1934,  Darrow presented his game to the toy and game manufacturer, Parker Brothers, but was rejected by the company. In 1935, after Darrow sold over 5,000 homemade copies of his game, Parker Brothers purchased the copyright to Monopoly.

After purchasing the rights to Monopoly, Parker Brothers learned that Darrow was not the sole inventor of the game, and paid Magie $500 for the patent rights. Today, Monopoly has been acquired by Hasbro from Parker Bros., and is now available in 37 languages, evolved into over 200+ licensed and localized editions for 103 countries around the world. 


The Guardian

The Smithsonian


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Behind the design. Monopoly board