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There are very few people who haven’t heard of Monopoly or played it in either of its many physical or
digital forms. The game can trace its origins back to 1902 when it was
developed by Elizabeth
Magie as The Landlord’s Game. She
had created the game as an educational tool designed to highlight the negative
aspects of concentrating land in private monopolies. She patented it in 1904
and began self-publishing it in 1906.
A replica of the 1906 version of The Landlord's Game.
Domestic heater salesman Charles Darrow was
introduced to the game in 1932, 9 years after Magie filed a second patent after
the game had undergone several variations, and proceeded to make and sell it
himself under the name Monopoly in
1933. When the game experienced
excellent sales during the 1934 Christmas season, Parker Brothers bought
the rights to the game from Darrow. When they later learned of Magie’s patent,
they bought that as well.
The Parker Brothers version began selling in February
of 1935, with international versions seeing release the following year. 1936
was also the year the game was given its mascot: Rich Uncle Pennybags, aka Mr.
Monopoly, designed by Dan Fox and modeled after J.P. Morgan. The game was
redesigned to a version close to the well-known one of today. The game board
was broken up into a series of properties based on the streets of Atlantic
City, New Jersey including rail road lines and utility services. Players used
tokens in various shapes to travel the board to buy up those properties and
eventually build houses and hotels, increasing the rent other players had to
pay for landing on them. While further revisions were made over the years,
Parker Brothers only produced the regular and deluxe version of the classic
game. In 1991, Hasbro acquired Parker
Brothers and began licensing out Monopoly
to produce variations on the game based on other franchises, cities and
even the world. Since then, Monopoly has
expanded into video games and being a licensed property all its own.
A look at the cereal pieces.
In 2003, to celebrate the 70th anniversary
of the Monopoly version of the game
first released by Darrow, Hasbro partnered with General Mills to create a
limited-edition Monopoly cereal
called Monopoly: Cereal Edition (like
their many variants). The cereal was a virtual clone of General Mills’ own Cinnamon
Toast Crunch with images of the then-current game pieces being drawn onto
the cereal pieces. Accompanying them were marshmallows in the shape of various
property deeds, houses and hotels. The back panel featured a look
and find game, while a side panel delivered some trivia
facts about the board game.