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Two funnelled ship token for Game of the New U.S. Merchant Marine

Date: 1919
Overall: 20 x 30 x 5 mm
Medium: Metal, paint
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased from USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Token
Object No: 00050955

User Terms

    This board game presents concepts of world trade and trade routes as indicated by the listing of ports and their chief exports. These games are at the same time both recreational and educational.
    SignificanceThis game was produced shortly after the close of WWI. It is indicative of the global geo-political shift in trade and transportation that was brought about by this conflict.
    HistoryThe Milton Bradley Company is an American game company established by Milton Bradley in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1860. In 1860, Milton Bradley moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, and set up the state’s first color lithography shop. His likeness of Abraham Lincoln sold very well until Lincoln grew his beard and rendered the likeness out-of-date.

    Struggling to find a new way to use his lithography machine, Bradley visited his friend George Tapley. Tapley challenged him to a game, most likely an old English game. Bradley conceived the idea of making a purely American game. He created “The Checkered Game of Life”, which had players move along a track from Infancy to Happy Old Age, in which the point was to avoid Ruin and reach Happy Old Age. Squares were labeled with moral positions from honor and bravery to disgrace and ruin. Players used a spinner instead of dice because of the negative association with gambling.

    By spring of 1861, over 45,000 copies of “The Checkered Game of Life” had been sold. Bradley became convinced board games were his company’s future.

    In 1920, it absorbed the game production of McLoughlin Brothers, formerly the largest game manufacturer in the United States and in 1987 it purchased Selchow and Righter, makers of Parcheesi and Scrabble.

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