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Milton Bradley - The Name's Familiar - by Laura Lee at Milton Bradley
Milton Bradley

Milton Bradley was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts. The early portion of his career was marked by a long string of bad luck. He wanted to be a scientist, and in 1854 he took his savings and enrolled in the Lawrence Scientific School at Cambridge. Unfortunately, his parents decided to move two years later, and he was forced to drop out. He commuted from his family home in Hartford, Connecticut, to Springfield, Massachusetts, where he worked as a draftsman for die Wason Locomotive Car Works.

While he was working in Springfield, Bradley began to dream of another career. He wanted to be a lithographer, a dream that seemed impossible because of the lack of lithographic presses in Springfield. One day Bradley heard about a press that was for sale in Providence, Rhode Island. He traveled to Providence, learned to use the machine, bought it, and brought it back to Springfield.

In 1860, Bradley got his first big project. The Republican National Convention suggested that he produce photographs of their candidate, Abraham Lincoln. Bradley pressed hundreds of thousands of the pictures, but by the time Lincoln won the election he had grown a beard and no longer resembled the photographs. No one bought them. The Civil War followed shortly after, and it seemed Bradley's business was doomed. But then an inventor brought Bradley a game called "The Checkered Game of Life." He printed 45,000 copies. The game was meant to be educational. The purpose was to finish the game with a peaceful retirement based on having made proper moral decisions.

By 1868, Milton Bradley was the leading manufacturer of games in America. Over the years, the object of the Game of Life shifted. In the modern version, the person who retires with the greatest fortune wins.

From the book The Name's Familiar by Laura Lee Buy The Book!

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