On November 5, 1935, Parker Brothers began marketing the board game “Monopoly,” and has sold more than 250 million games around the world. Here are five facts you probably didn’t know about this board game played around the world...
A Version of the Game Was First Developed in 1903 Charles Darrow is credited with developing Monopoly in 1933, but it was based on an earlier version made by Elizabeth Magie, who named it “Landlord’s Game.” Her game never quite caught on, so Darrow made his own version using oilcloth to cover the board and handwritten cards. He used wooden scraps for the houses and hotels and took his game to Parker Brothers.
Parker Brothers Initially Rejected the Game When shown the game, Parker Brothers turned it down. Some of the many reasons given were the theme, the difficulty of playing it, and the length of time it took to play. Because it became successful locally, the company decided to take another look at the game and struck a deal with Darrow. Even though the Great Depression was going on, the new game sold like crazy. The company had to produce 35,000 copies each week during the first year after its release in 1935.
The Original Tokens Were Inspired by a Charm Bracelet Darrow’s niece provided the inspiration for the game tokens with her charm bracelet. The original pieces were the cannon, top hat, iron, thimble, shoe, and battleship. As some of these pieces became obsolete, they were replaced. The newest pieces included with the game are the top hat, cat, battleship, car, rubber ducky, penguin, and a Tyrannosaurus rex.
The Game Provided a Surprising Use During World War II The secret service in Britain used Monopoly games during World War II to smuggle POWs supplies to escape. Posing as charities, they shipped the packages to their prisoners, and apparently the Germans never noticed they were anything but boxed games to keep the prisoners amused. The boxes contained handy items to use when escaping such as a file and compass that served as playing pieces, a map concealed inside the board, and banknotes hidden underneath the colorful Monopoly money.
Surprising Records Have Been Set by Monopoly Devotees Some people may know that the current record for a Monopoly game is 70 days straight, which works out to 1680 hours, but there are other records that have been set by Monopoly players. The longest game played underground was 100 hours long, the longest game played while in a bathtub was 99 hours, and players were even up in a treehouse playing for 286 hours. In 2012, three young men from Philadelphia set a record for balancing a Monopoly game for 2 minutes 43.61 seconds on top of their heads.