Original Patent for Monopoly Board Game 1936

Edward Fielding

Etna, United States

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The history of Monopoly can be traced back to 1903, when an American woman named Elizabeth (Lizzie) J. Magie Phillips created a game through which she hoped to be able to explain the single tax theory of Henry George (it was intended to illustrate the negative aspects of concentrating land in private monopolies). Her game, The Landlord’s Game, was self-published, beginning in 1906.

A series of variant board games based on her concept were developed from 1906 through the 1930s that involved the buying and selling of land and the development of that land. By 1934, a board game called Monopoly had been created which formed the basis of the game sold by Parker Brothers, beginning in 1935.

Several people, mostly in the Midwestern United States and near the East Coast, contributed to the game’s design and evolution. But by the 1970s, the idea that the game had been created solely by Charles Darrow had become popular folklore: it was printed in the game’s instructions and even in the 1974 book The Monopoly Book: Strategy and Tactics of the World’s Most Popular Game by Maxine Brady.

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