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Games of America in the Nineteenth Century
Bruce Whitehill

Though commercially manufactured American-made games have been found in the United States from as early as 1822, the games “industry” can be said to have started around the mid 1840s, when hand-printed games were turned out in greater quantity by at least one publishing company, W. & S.B. Ives. By the 1860s, thanks in part to now-forgotten publishers like John McLoughlin and E.G. Selchow and, in particular, to a lithographer whose name is still used today, Milton Bradley, game production continued to grow. The mechanized printing process resulted in the mass production of games. And in the 1880s, the man credited with promoting games for adults and families, not just children, George Parker, helped develop games into a major American pastime. Games were now “manufactured by. . . ” in- stead of being “published by. . . ”. There are other names associated with the beginnings of the American games industry, such as Rufus Bliss, who pro- duced what collectors categorize as exceptional games in his unique line of toys. And games still played today made their debut: AUTHORS, TIDDLEY WINKS and PARCHEESI (PACHISI), among others. Increased trade saw American games travel to Europe, while Americans had been playing Eu- ropean — especially British — games for decades. In one curious switch, HALMA, which was invented by an American, went on to become a Euro- pean favorite, while CHINESE CHECKERS, named and popularized in the U.S., actually began in Germany as STERN-HALMA (Star Halma). This article serves to introduce readers to some of the men, the companies, and the products that made up the American games industry in the 19th century, and to provide a sense of the times and culture in which these pastimes were created. 

American games
Published: 2015/12/12
Received: 2013/11/11
Author Details
Bruce Whitehill
Bruce Whitehill
Alte Poststr 18
29693 Eickeloh

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