December 7, 2012

Where did the Monopoly pieces come from?

Having been stuck with some pretty crappy Monopoly pieces before (who wants to play the game as a shoe), I've always wondered what the good people at Parker Brothers were smoking when they came up with the nick-knacks to designate where you landed.

(To buy Monopoly click here.)

The pieces themselves first originated in 1937, when America was coming out of the Great Depression, and apparently came from Cracker Jacks...

When Monopoly was first created in the early 1930s, there were no pieces like we know them, so they went to Cracker Jack, which at the time was offering tiny metal tchotchkes, like cars. They used the same molds to make the Monopoly pieces. Game Show sells some antique Cracker Jack prizes and, sure enough, the toy car is exactly the same as the Monopoly car. In fact, there’s also a candlestick, which seems to be the model for the one in Clue. 

I think they chose Cracker Jack prizes that symbolize wealth and poverty. The car, top hat, and dog (especially a little terrier like Asta, then famous from “The Thin Man” movie series) were all possessions of the wealthy. The thimble, wheelbarrow, old shoe, and iron were possessions or tools of the poor.

Wonderful, now I can start walking around town with my top hat game piece showing off to everyone.

(Here's the classic edition of Monopoly for you. )


  1. I always liked being the shoe. That way I could kick some ass! (My mom played as the wheelbarrow to carry all of her money.)

    It's all about what you make I suppose.

  2. My brother always took the car and I always took the horse so I could poop in his car.