Trivia

Hard

Milton Bradley Started His Famous Board Game Company Because Of?

Abe Lincoln Growing A Beard
Extensive Gambling Debts
The Destruction Of British Factories
Catastrophic Losses In Oil Futures
A photo of Abraham Lincoln without his iconic beard.
Matthew Brady/Wikimedia

Answer: Abe Lincoln Growing A Beard

If you’re a fan of highly specific and highly improbable trivia, then today’s trivia is a special treat for you. This historical trivia is so odd as to border on almost unbelievable: Milton Bradley, the most famous board game manufacturer in the history of the United States, got into the board game business as a direct result of Abraham Lincoln growing his iconic beard.

Long before he was a board game maker, Bradley tried his hand at lithography and staked his budding business on producing a huge quantity of lithographs of the then-Presidential-nominee Abraham Lincoln. While business was brisk at first, Lincoln, shortly thereafter, grew his iconic beard and suddenly Bradley’s lithographs were a very poor likeness of the now well-known Lincoln—such a poor likeness, in fact, that some customers even demanded their money back.

As a result, Bradley turned his attention to other enterprises and began producing board games. Within his first year as a board game manufacturer, he sold over 45,000 copies of his first game, The Checkered Game of Life. The Milton Bradley Company went on to dominate the American board game market for the rest of the 19th century and throughout the 20th.

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