Women of Interest – Elizabeth Magie

Elizabeth Magie was born in Macomb, Illinois, in 1866, and died in Arlington, Virginia, in 1948. Magie developed The Landlord’s Game, a board game which was said to be the stimulus for the Monopoly game. The game was based on the economic philosophy of Georgism, with the goal being to show how rents enrich property owners and deprive tenants. Magie received a patent for The Landlord’s Game in 1904. In 1909, she approached Parker Brothers to publish The Landlord’s game as well as another game, the other game was accepted, but the Landlord’s game was deemed too complex and was rejected. As the first patent was expiring Magie applied for a second patent and it was issued in 1924. She held this patent until 1935 and she then sold it to Parker Brothers for $500. Meanwhile Parker Brothers was approached by Charles Darrow who claimed he invented the Monopoly game and they accepted his version of the game. Ultimately, in 1973 the truth was uncovered by Ralph Anspach, an economics professor, during research to defend himself for a trial against Parker Brothers that was instigated over his own game, Anti-Monopoly.

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