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George S. Parker - The Name's Familiar - by Laura Lee at George S. Parker
George S. Parker

George S. Parker was born in 1867 in Salem, Massachusetts, the third youngest son of a merchant. He, his brothers, and friends formed a small club to play checkers, chess, and dominoes. Although there were a few board games in those days, most of them were designed to teach religious values. Parker was more interested in a game about another kind of values-monetary. He created a game called "The Game of Banking." The object was to become the richest player on the board.

The members of the club enjoyed the game so much that they suggested Parker try to sell it. He took his game to two book publishers, but they did not see any value in it. His friends were sure it would be a hit, however, so they lent him $50 to produce 500 copies of the game. He then traveled throughout southern New England selling his creation, He sold all but a few of the games, and returned home $100 richer. He used that money, less the $50 he owed his buddies, to found the George S. Parker Company.

By 1888, the company had 29 different games, most of which were designed by Parker. The business was so successful that Parker convinced his older brother, Charles, to leave the oil business and join the company. They were soon joined by another brother, Edward, and the company was renamed Parker Brothers.

Interestingly, one game that George Parker never much liked was Monopoly. A man named Charles B. Darrow invented the game during the Great Depression, and he pitched it to Parker Brothers. Parker passed on it, saying that no one would buy a game that took more than 45 minutes to play. As George Parker had done years earlier, Darrow decided to sell the game on his own, He did so well that Parker Brothers was forced to reconsider. They released Monopoly in 1935, and were soon selling more than 20,000 copies a week. George Parker was convinced that it was a fad, and on December 19, 1936, he ordered the company to stop producing the game. He reconsidered that decision, too.

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

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