Elizabeth Magie (1866–1948)
In 1903, Elizabeth Magie filed a patent for The Landlord’s Game. The game had two sets of rules: one where players were rewarded when they bought up property and destroyed the competition, and one where players created shared wealth. Thirty years later, Charles Darrow sold a version of her game to Parker Brothers, and Monopoly became a staple in many American households. Magie created the game as a teaching tool about the dangers of America’s real estate moguls, yet was forced to watch from the sidelines as her dualist rules were abandoned and Darrow became a millionaire. In 1973, an economics professor trying to produce his own anti-monopolist game uncovered her original patents while he was entangled in a legal battle with Parker Brothers.