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board game

Out of work architect Alfred M. Butts invented the game we know as Scrabble in the later 1930s. It wasn't until 1948 that he sold most of the rights to a partner, James Brunot. Brunot manufactured the game and gave Butts a small percentage of every unit sold. And Brunot renamed the game "Scrabble" and tweaked the rules just a bit. Still, the game foundered in sales. According to popular legend, it wasn't until 1952, when Jack Straus, president of Macy's, played the game on vacation and subsequently placed an order, that the game began to sell in numbers. By 1953 and 1954, Brunot couldn't keep store shelves stocked. Scrabble was everywhere! At that time, in order to meet demant, Brunot allowed Selchow & Righter to produce the game. And still demand outraced supply. Selchow subsequently licensed Cadaco-Ellis to make a similar game, in 1954, to help meet demand. That game, Skip-a-cross, utilized cheaper materials--cardboard letters and letter racks--but it played exactly the same as Scrabble.

  • Manufacturer: Cadaco
  • Material: printed paper | printed cardboard
  • Origin: USA
  • Licenser: Selchow & Righter Co.
  • Style: word
  • Object ID: 114.6056
  • Credit Line: Gift of Dr. Anthony and Cornelia Labrum
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