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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Men have the Monopoly? Not so, say Mary and Magie

The Makers of Monopoly have been criticised for ignoring  the real inventor of the game - an early feminist - in a new book to be published this week.

 Mary Pilon, author of The Monopolists, insists that everyone's favourite board game was actually  invented in 1904 by  *Elizabeth Magie, and not by Charles Darrow, an unemployed salesman from Atlantic city who  has always taken the credit.

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According to The Times today, Eliabeth Magie designed The Landlord's Game which featured a square board with markings for properties, utilities and a corner labelled "Go to Jail.'  Her intention, it seems, was to teach the perils of capitalism, though she did create a variation in which players could pursue a monopoly.

'Pilon's book states that Darrow encountered The Landlord's Game in 1932 when Quaker enthusiasts  augmented the rental properties with Atlantic City street names.  Parker Brothers bought the rights to Darrow's game in 1935 and later purchased Magie's patent for $500. Interestingly, the official history of Monopoly distributed by Hasbro does not mention her at all.

A spokesman for Hasbro said: "While Elizabeth Magie  may have helped to inspire the game, the we know it today was designed by Charles Darrow.'

What do you think?

*Born 1n 1896, Magie was the daughter of an Illinois newspaper publisher. She worked as  a stenographer and later as a newspaper reporter herself.

The Monopolists -Obsession, Fury, and the  Scandal behind the world's Favorite Board Game is published on April 9 2015 by Bloomsbury USA.


Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

I think, as usual, men taking credit for woman's work.
Marilyn, I just finished Baggy Pants and Bootee. Read it in one sitting, couldn't put it down.
Loved it ! It was worth the wait. Hope you will do a sequel.

Guernsey Girl said...

Ah, Margie, how good to hear from you. I saw the review yesterday and wondered if it was yours! I was really thrilled to get such lovely comments from all away across the pond. Thank you so, so much. I have completed my second novel, set in the Occupation of the Channel Island and am now working on the sequel to Baggy Pants and Bootees. xx

Lindsay said...

I suspect Francie is right and someone - no doubt male - wanted to take the credit. Ideas, apparently, belong to no-one! Only development and marketing.

Guernsey Girl said...

I'm glad you agree, Lindsay - even more so because I managed to call Francie by the wrong name! Thanks for dropping by!