Depression Turns Into Joy Over “Scrabble”
By: Carly LoVerde
Have you ever gotten so mad in a game of scrabble that you end up throwing in the towel? Have you ever gotten so mad that you flip the board and walk away? Well, you’re not alone. Millions of people all over the world play Scrabble each and every day and there are techniques that people have in order to win in the game. The board game, which was created during The Great Depression, has made many changes over the past 65 years. The board game, was created by, an unemployed New York architect named Alfred Mosher Butts, who figured Americans could use a bit of distraction during The Great Depression. Butts combined the three games that were American favorites, dice, cards and letter games like crossword puzzles; he then chose the rate and the circulation of the tiles by counting letters on the pages of the New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune and The Saturday Evening Post. Scrabble did not take off right away, although, Butts tweaked with the game over ten years he found it very difficult to find a sponsor.
Finally, a man named James Brunot approached Butts about mass-producing the game, and Butts voluntarily handed the operation over. Brunot’s came up with the iconic color scheme (pastel pink, baby-blue, indigo and bright red), devised the 50-point bonus for using all seven tiles to make a word, and conceived the name “Scrabble.” The first Scrabble factory was an abandoned schoolhouse in rural Connecticut, where 12 board games per hour were being manufactured. When the chairman of Macy’s discovered the game he decided to stock his shelves with it, and the game took off. By 1952, Brunot’s homegrown assembly line was churning out more than 2,000 sets a week. Nearly 4 million Scrabble sets were sold in 1954 alone.
Ever since Brunot and Butts decided to sell their product, over the past 60 something years Scrabble has been owned by a number of large corporate companies, until Hasbro Inc. took control over the game in the 1980’s. There have been many changes over the years, including two official Scrabble dictionaries, one for recreational use and the other for official tournament and clubs; the latter contains a total of 120, 302 words.
Worldwide, Scrabble is looked at as one of the most entertaining games (educationally and recreationally) and there are millions of clubs and even official tournaments that revolve all around Americas favorite board game. Whether you want to join a club, play online, or play in a tournament Scrabble will be around for years and years to come.