The Woman Who Invented Monopoly

New York Culture

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Did you spend lots of time playing Monopoly when you were a kid? I did for sure. It has always been my favourite game, and I gladly spent half of a day playing with my friends and family. In hindsight, it was a hint that I should become a banker (spoiler alert: I did).

But have you ever wondered who invented this game? Was it a rich man or a European oligarch? Maybe a pro-capitalist who wanted to share the power of money with others? No. It was invented by an American woman named Elizabeth "Lizzie" Maggie, who was an anti-capitalist and a game designer.

Lizzie Maggie

Born in Arlington, Virginia, Elizabeth Maggie - nicknamed Lizzie - was born to a prominent family in 1866. She grew up watching her successful father James, a newspaper publisher, discuss politics and start debates with others. James Maggie was an abolitionist who worked with Abraham Lincoln, so Lizzie's exposure to politics was unprecedented.

Elizabeth was working as a stenographer and a typist at the age of 26. This was when she came up with her first invention: a special gadget that allowed the paper to go through typewriter rollers easier. She received a patent for this invention, which was astonishing: women were granted less than 1% of all the patents back then.

The Original Monopoly

Between 1902 and 1903, she designed a game called "Landlord's Game" and was granted a patent for it in 1904. It wasn't a particularly popular game, but Elizabeth kept applying for renewal of patents until 1935, when she sold the patent to Parker Brothers for $500. Based on Lizzie's original idea, the new " Monopoly " game was designed. Since then, over 250 million games have been sold, and more than 1 billion people worldwide have played this game.

While Lizzie Maggie wasn't the one who made the game ultra-famous, the invention is credited to her. She was also the one who held the original patent to Monopoly. So, the next time you're playing this game, remember: it was invented by a lady.

*This article is a part of HerStory March series on Newsbreak

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