Monopoly, the board game, went on sale for the first time.
In the midst of the Great Depression, Charles B. Darrow, an unemployed salesman living in Philadelphia's Germantown neighborhood, brought his version of a finance game to Parker Brothers. The company rejected Darrow's game immediately. It took too long to play; there was no clear winner, and the rules were too complex. Darrow then manufactured the game on his own, hiring a local printer create five thousand copies. It sold so well in Philadelphia, that stores in other cities placed orders, including F.A. O. Schwarz in New York. Ironically, a friend of the wife of Parker Brothers CEO Robert Barton bought a copy of the game and shared it with Mrs. Barton (who was also daughter of Parker Brothers' founder, George Parker). Soon the company offered to buy the rights to the game from Darrow, as well as to pay him royalties on all sets sold. Darrow became the first game inventor to become a millionaire.
Monopoly features street names from Atlantic City, New Jersey, and a commemorative plaque honoring Darrow is on the Boardwalk near Park Place. The odd variety of playing tokens was said to be designed after Darrow's wife's charm bracelet. This week, Hasbro (now the maker of the game) will determine which of the current Monopoly tokens (battleship, car, dog, iron, top hat, shoe, thimble, wheelbarrow) should be replaced -- and by what (cat, diamond ring, guitar, helicoptor or toy robot Tuesday, 2/5, is the last day to vote to save your favorite!