Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Parker Brothers is a toy and game manufacturer and brand. The company has published more than 1800 games; among their best known products are Monopoly, Cluedo (known as Clue in North America), and Risk. Parker Brothers is currently a subsidiary of Hasbro.
Parker Brothers was founded by George S. Parker , who published his first game in 1883 at the age of 16. The company was originally called the George S. Parker Company, founded in Salem, Massachusetts. When George's brother Charles joined the business in 1888, the company's name was changed to its more familiar form. A third brother, Edward H. Parker, joined the company in 1898. For many years, George Parker 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 game before or since. 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 game called Monopoly. Although the company had originally rejected the game in 1934, they decided to publish it the next year. It was an instant success, and the company had difficulty for quite a while 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 1968, when General Mills purchased the company. After this, Parker Brothers produced the first Nerf ball, and Nerf products soon became another major national hit. The company began to produce electronic versions of their popular board games in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During the 80s, General Mills sold the company to Kenner, which was acquired by Tonka. Finally, in 1991, Parker Brothers was bought by toy giant Hasbro.
Parker Brothers was an innovative company from its earliest years. The very first jigsaw puzzle was made by the company. In the late 19th century, Parker Brothers was the first company to advertise games in newspapers. Many of their products are still sold today.
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