- Parker Brothers
type = Wholly Owned Subsidiary
foundation = 1883
location = USA
products = Monopoly
Parker Brothers is a
toyand game manufacturerand brand. Over nearly 115 years, the company published more than 1800 games; [ [http://www.hasbro.com/default.cfm?page=ci_history_pb The story of Parker Brothers ] ] among their best known products are "Monopoly", " Cluedo" (known as "Clue" in North America), "Risk", Trivial Pursuit, Ouija, Aggravation and Probe. Parker Brothers is currently a subsidiary of Hasbro.
Parker Brothers was founded by George S. Parker. Parker's philosophy deviated from the prevalent theme of board game design; he believed that games should be played for enjoyment and did not need to emphasize morals and values. He published his first game, called Banking, in 1883 at the age of 16. [ [http://www.history.com/exhibits/toys/inventors.html The History of Toys ] ] Banking is a game in which players borrowed money from the bank and tried to generate wealth by guessing how well they could do. The game included 160 cards which foretold their failures or successes. The game was so popular among family and friends that his brother, Charles Parker urged him to publish it. George approached two Boston publishers with the idea, but was unsuccessful. Not discouraged, he spent $40 to publish 500 sets of Banking. [ [http://www.history.com/exhibits/toys/inventors.html The History of Toys ] ] He eventually sold all but 12 copies, making a profit of $100. [ [http://www.history.com/exhibits/toys/inventors.html The History of Toys ] ]
Parker founded his game company, initially called the "George S. Parker Company," in his hometown of
Salem, Massachusettsin 1883. When George's brother Charles joined the business in 1888, the company's name was changed to its more familiar form. In 1898 a third brother, Edward H. Parker, joined the company. For many years, George designed most of the games himself, and wrote all the rules. Many games were based on important events of the day: "Klondike" was based on the Alaskan gold rush, and "War in Cuba" was based on the impending Spanish-American War.
The game industry was growing, and the company was becoming very profitable. In 1906, Parker Brothers published the game "Rook", their most successful
card gameto this day and it quickly became the best-selling game in the country. During the Great Depression, a time when many companies went out of business, Parker Brothers released a new board gamecalled "Monopoly". Although the company had originally rejected the game in 1934, they decided to publish it the next year. [ [http://www.hasbro.com/monopoly/default.cfm?page=history Monopoly Board Game - Parker Brothers ] ] It was an instant success, and the company had difficulty keeping up with demand. The company continued to grow throughout the next several decades, producing such lasting games as "Clue", "Risk", and "Sorry!".
Even after George Parker's death, the company remained family-owned until 1963, when
General Millspurchased the company. After this, Parker Brothers produced the first " Nerfball", which became another major national hit. In the UK during the 1970s, Parker Bros. was the games division of Palitoy (also a General Mills company), and produced a variety of releases such as "Escape From Colditz". The company began to produce electronic versions of their popular board games in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They also produced video games for various systems during the early 1980s, with home ports of many popular arcade games like Sega's Froggerand Gottlieb's Q*Bert. During the 1980s, General Mills merged the company with their subsidiary Kenner. This new company called "Kenner Parker Toys Inc." was acquired by Tonkain 1987. In 1991, Tonka, including Parker Brothers was bought by Hasbro.
* [http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=2691 The Game Makers] , a book by
Philip Orbanes, chronicles the history of Parker Brothers.
* [http://www.historychannel.com/exhibits/toys/inventors.html Parker Brothers] on the
* [http://www.spotlightongames.com/list/parker.html The story of Parker's early games]
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