HOME

TheInfoList




Milton Bradley Company or simply Milton Bradley (MB) was an American
board game Board games are tabletop games that typically use moved or placed on a pre-marked board (playing surface) and often include elements of Table game, table, Card game, card, Role-playing game, role-playing, and Miniatures game, miniatures games a ...
manufacturer established by
Milton Bradley Milton Bradley (November 8, 1836 – May 30, 1911) was an American business magnate, game pioneer and publisher, credited by many with launching the board game Board games are tabletop games that typically use moved or placed on a pre-marked ...
in
Springfield Springfield may refer to: * Springfield (toponym) Springfield is a famously common place-name in the English-speaking world, especially in the United States. According to the USGS, U.S. Geological Survey there are currently 34 populated places na ...
,
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ...

Massachusetts
, in 1860. In 1920, it absorbed the game production of
McLoughlin Brothers McLoughlin Bros., Inc. was a New York publishing firm active between 1858 and 1920. The company was a pioneer in color printing technologies in children's books. The company specialized in retellings or Thomas Bowdler, bowdlerizations of classic ...
, formerly the largest game manufacturer in the United States. Since 1984, it has been a division of
Hasbro Hasbro, Inc. (; a syllabic abbreviation An abbreviation (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area aroun ...
.


History


Foundation

Milton Bradley found success making board games. In 1860, Milton Bradley moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, and set up the state's first color lithography shop. Its graphic design of
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln (; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of governme ...

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sold very well, until Lincoln grew his beard and rendered the likeness out-of-date.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. When the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by other names Other most often refers to: * Other (philosophy), a concept in psychology and philosophy Other or The Other may also refer to: Books * The Other (Tryon novel), ''The Other'' (Tryon nove ...
broke out in early 1861, Milton Bradley temporarily gave up making board games and tried to make new weaponry. However, upon seeing bored soldiers stationed in Springfield, Bradley began producing small games which the soldiers could play during their down time. These are regarded as the first travel games in the country. These games included chess, checkers, backgammon, dominoes, and "The Checkered Game of Life." They were sold for one dollar a piece to soldiers and charitable organizations, which bought them in bulk to distribute.


Kindergarten movement

The Milton Bradley Company took a new direction in 1869 after Milton Bradley went to hear a lecture about the kindergarten movement by early education pioneer,
Elizabeth Peabody Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (May 16, 1804January 3, 1894) was an American educator who opened the first English-language kindergarten in the United States. Long before most educators, Peabody embraced the premise that children's play has intrinsic dev ...
. Peabody promoted the philosophy of the German scholar
Friedrich FroebelFriedrich may refer to: Names *Friedrich (surname), people with the surname ''Friedrich'' *Friedrich (given name), people with the given name ''Friedrich'' Other *Friedrich (board game), a board game about Frederick the Great and the Seven Years' W ...

Friedrich Froebel
. Froebel stated that through education children learn and develop through creative activities. Bradley would spend much of the rest of his life promoting the kindergarten movement both personally and through the Milton Bradley Company. In the late 1860s, Bradley became involved in the
Kindergarten Kindergarten (, ) is a preschool A preschool, also known as nursery school, pre-primary school, or play school, is an school, educational establishment or learning space offering early childhood education to children before they begin com ...

Kindergarten
movement. Deeply invested in the cause, his company began manufacturing educational items such as colored papers and paints. The company was hurt by Bradley's generosity as he gave these materials away free of charge. Due to the
Long Depression The Long Depression was a worldwide price and economic recession In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economic ...
of the late 1870s, his investors told him either his kindergarten work must go or they would go. Bradley chose to keep his kindergarten work. His friend George Tapley bought the interest of the lost investors and took over as president of the Milton Bradley Company. Milton Bradley was an early advocate of Friedrich Froebel's idea of Kindergarten. Springfield's first kindergarten students were Milton Bradley's two daughters, and the first teachers in Springfield were Milton, his wife and his father. Milton Bradley's company's involvement with kindergartens began with the production of "gifts," the term used by Froebel for the geometric wooden play things that he felt were necessary to properly structure children's creative development. Bradley spent months devising the exact shades in which to produce these materials; his final choice of six pigments of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet would remain the standard colors for children's art supplies through the 20th century. By the 1870s, the company was producing dozens of games and capitalizing on fads. Milton Bradley became the first manufacturer in America to make
croquet Croquet (french: croquet; ( UK) or ( US)) is a sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and Skill, skills while providing enjoyment ...

croquet
sets. The sets included wickets, mallets, balls, stakes, and an authoritative set of rules to play by that Bradley himself had created from oral tradition and his own sense of fair play. In 1880, the company began making jigsaw puzzles. The company's educational supplies turned out to be a large portion of their income at the turn of the century. They produced supplies any grade school teacher could use, such as toy money, multiplication sticks, and movable clock dials. Milton Bradley continued producing games, particularly parlor games played by adults. They produced "Visit to the Gypsies," "Word Gardening," "Happy Days in Old New England," and "Fortune Telling." They also created jigsaw puzzles of wrecked vehicles, which were popular among young boys.


Later years

When Milton Bradley died in 1911, the company was passed to Robert Ellis, who passed it to Bradley's son-in-law Robert Ingersoll, who eventually passed it to George Tapley's son, William. In 1920, Bradley bought out McLoughlin Brothers, which went out of business after John McLoughlin's death. Milton Bradley began to decline in the 1920s and fell dramatically in the 1930s during the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
. Fewer people were spending money on board games. The company kept losing money until 1940, when they sank too low and banks demanded payment on loans. Desperate to avoid bankruptcy, the board of directors persuaded James J. Shea, a Springfield businessman, to take over presidency of the company. Shea immediately moved to decrease the company's debt. He began a major renovation of the Milton Bradley plant by burning old inventory that had been accumulating since the turn of the century. With the outbreak of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, Milton Bradley started producing a universal joint created by Shea used on the landing gear of fighter planes. They also reproduced a revised version of their game kits for soldiers, which earned the company $2 million. Milton Bradley did not stop creating board games, although they did cut their line from 410 titles to 150. New games were introduced during this time, such as the patriotic ''Game of the States,'' '' Chutes & Ladders'' and ''
Candyland ''Candy Land'' (also ''Candyland'') is a simple racing In sport, racing is a competition of speed, against an objective criterion, usually a clock or to a specific point. The competitors in a race try to complete a given task in the shortes ...
.'' The advent of the television could have threatened the industry, but Shea used it to his advantage. Various companies acquired licenses to television shows for the purpose of producing all manner of promotional items including games. In 1959, Milton Bradley released ''Concentration,'' a memory game based on an
NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), c ...
television show of the same name; the game was such a success that editions were issued annually into 1982, long after the show was cancelled in 1973 (similar practices were used for box game adaptations of the game shows ''
Password A password, sometimes called a passcode (for example in Apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown specie ...
'' and ''
Jeopardy! ''Jeopardy!'' is an American television game show created by Merv Griffin. The show features a quiz competition in which contestants are presented with general knowledge clues in the form of answers, and must phrase their responses in the for ...
''). Milton Bradley celebrated their centennial in 1960 with the re-release of ''The Checkered Game of Life,'' which was modernized. It was now simply called '' The Game of Life'' and the goal was no longer to reach Happy Old Age, but to become a millionaire. ''
Twister Twister may refer to: Weather * Tornado Aviation * Pipistrel Twister, a Slovenian ultralight trike * Silence Twister, a German homebuilt aircraft design * Wings of Change Twister, an Austrian paraglider design Entertainment * Twister (1989 film) ...
'' made its debut in the 1960s as well. Thanks to
Johnny Carson John William Carson (October 23, 1925 – January 23, 2005) was an American television host, comedian, writer, and producer. He is best known as the host of ''The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson'' (1962–1992). Carson received six Pri ...
's suggestive comments as
Eva Gabor Eva Gabor ( ; February 11, 1919 – July 4, 1995) was a Hungarian-American actress, businesswoman, singer, and socialite. She voiced Duchess in the Disney films The Aristocats, and Miss Bianca in The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under. She wa ...

Eva Gabor
played the game on his show, ''Twister'' became a phenomenon. In the 1960s, Milton Bradley games were licensed in Australia by John Sands Pty Ltd. In 1967, James Shea Jr. took over as president of Milton Bradley (becoming CEO in 1968) succeeding his father. During his presidency, Milton Bradley bought
Playskool Playskool is an American company that produces educational toys and games for children. It is a subsidiary of , and is headquartered in . The last five letters of the brand name are a of "school". History The Playskool Institute was establishe ...
Mfg. Co. the E.S. Lowe Company, makers of ''
Yahtzee Yahtzee is a dice game made by Milton Bradley Company, Milton Bradley (a company that has since been acquired and assimilated by Hasbro). It was first marketed under the name of Yahtzee by game entrepreneur Edwin S. Lowe in 1956. The game is a ...

Yahtzee
'', and Body Language. During the 1970s and 1980s, electronic games became popular. Milton Bradley released ''
Simon Simon may refer to: People * Simon (given name) Simon is a common name, from Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...
'' in 1978, which was fairly late in the movement. By 1980, it was their best-selling item. In 1979, Milton Bradley also developed the first hand-held cartridge-based console, the
Microvision The Microvision (aka Milton Bradley Microvision or MB Microvision) is the first handheld game console that used interchangeable cartridges and in that sense therefore is reprogrammable. It was released by the Milton Bradley Company in November ...

Microvision
. In 1983, seeing the potential in the new
Vectrex The Vectrex is a vector display A vector monitor, vector display, or calligraphic display is a display device s, LED display and Vacuum fluorescent display, VF display, top to bottom. A display device is an output device for presentation of ...

Vectrex
vector-based video game console, the company purchased General Consumer Electronics (GCE). Both the Vectrex and the Microvision were designed by Jay Smith. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Milton Bradley marketed a series of games (such as ''HeroQuest'' and ''Battle Masters'') in North America that were developed in the United Kingdom by Games Workshop (GW) that drew heavily from GW's Warhammer Fantasy (setting), Warhammer Fantasy universe, albeit without explicit reference to the Warhammer product line.


Hasbro ownership

In 1984, Hasbro bought out Milton Bradley ending 124 years of family ownership. The 1990s saw the release of ''Gator Golf,'' ''Crack the Case,'' ''Mall Madness,'' and ''1313 Dead End Drive.'' In 1991, Hasbro acquired Milton Bradley's former arch-rival Parker Brothers. In 1998, Milton Bradley merged with Parker Brothers to form Hasbro Games. After the consolidation, Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers turned into brands of Hasbro before being dropped in 2009 in favor of the parent company's name, since adjusted to Hasbro Gaming.


See also

*List of Milton Bradley Company products *Milton-Bradley Company (building), the company's Springfield factory from the 1880s to the 1960s


References


External links

*
Cornell Exhibit on Games with MB Kindergarten CurriculumMilton Bradley Games
Information and parts at Gamepart.com
MB Portuguese edition Games
All portuguese list {{Authority control American companies established in 1860 American companies disestablished in 1998 1860 establishments in Massachusetts 1998 disestablishments in Massachusetts Toy companies of the United States Board game publishing companies Companies based in Hampden County, Massachusetts Manufacturing companies disestablished in 1998 Manufacturing companies established in 1860 Game manufacturers Former Hasbro subsidiaries 1984 mergers and acquisitions