LETTER : Origins of the Monopoly board

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The Independent Online
From Mr Geoff Kiss

Sir: Apparently, Charles Darrow had about as much claim to have invented Monopoly as William Friese-Greene did motion photography ("Mayfair, mortgaged for pounds 200 - and go to jail!", 17 May).

Forms of the game were known in Atlantic City, but the principle was established at least as early as 1904 when "Landlords" was marketed by Elizabeth Maggie Phillips.

There is also, aligned with Monopoly in the Museum of Childhood, a 1913 board game (manufactured by Newbie Games of Dumfries) named "Brer Fox an' Brer Rabbit", which has Gaol in one corner, contains Chance, railway stations and features property improvement.

I notice the board used to illustrate your article on 1930s costs is post-railway nationalisation ... unlike my own version which, although post-war, places stations firmly in the private hands of the London & North Eastern Railway Company. Will they now become RailTrack?

It is odd to note that the Electric & Water companies have ceased to be the anachronism which they have been for a generation!

Yours faithfully,

GEOFF KISS

Brighton

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