, Salem, MA

Local News

February 9, 2013

Change in Monopoly tokens stirs memories


The Scottie Dog was the most popular of the classic tokens, and received 29 percent of the vote, Hasbro said. The iron got the fewest votes and was kicked to the curb.

Orbanes said his guess — based on research and polling he’s done — was that the wheelbarrow would get the heave-ho. But a wheelbarrow manufacturer launched an online “save the wheelbarrow” campaign, and the iron lost out.

“(The iron) is probably the most dated token,” he said.

Ironically, the current world Monopoly champion, a 19 year-old from Norway, plays with the iron token, Orbanes said.

The tokens originated when the niece of game creator Charles Darrow suggested using bracelet charms. The game is based on the streets of Atlantic City, N.J., and has sold more than 275 million units worldwide.

The Parker brothers — George, Charles and Edward — bought Monopoly from Darrow at the height of the Great Depression. The game, along with Sorry, Clue and others, was manufactured at the Salem factory on Bridge Street, along the North River.

The company made 25,000 copies of Monopoly in its first year. Production exploded in 1936, and 1.8 million copies were sold — the absolute maximum amount the city of Salem could produce, Orbanes said.

The Parker Brothers company was founded in 1883; the Salem manufacturing plant opened in 1901. The company moved its corporate headquarters to Dunham Road in Beverly in 1978.

Parker Brothers was eventually taken over by a succession of companies, including General Mills. Hasbro took over the company in 1991. The Salem factory stayed open for three more years until it was torn down in 1994.

The other Monopoly tokens currently in use are a race car, shoe, thimble, top hat, wheelbarrow and battleship. Most of the pieces were introduced with the first Parker Brothers game in 1935, and the Scottie dog and wheelbarrow were added in the early 1950s.

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