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Scrabble -
Dating your classic Scrabble set,
1948 - 1999

As you know from my page dealing with changes to the box top Scrabble rules, I've picked up a bunch of standard Scrabble sets dating from the early 1950s to at least 1999.

After reaching a "critical mass" of vintage Scrabble games, I got curious about the approximate time frame for when a given set rolled off the production line. I've always known that this wouldn't be easy; the two dates easily found on a Scrabble game tell us almost nothing about when the game was made.

One is the copyright for the rules, and the 1953 rules stayed in effect up to 1976, for example. The copyright on the board is even more useless; it stayed put at 1948 almost up to the year 2000! So when you see a vintage Scrabble set on eBay "from 1953" or "from 1948", buyer beware!

So we have to use other evidence, such as from a knowledge of the history of ownership of Scrabble, and from inserted forms and leaflets, to zero in on the time frame for a given set.

I hope my deductions are useful and interesting to you. While I think the sequence of Scrabble box designs shown here is correct, I'm afraid the dates may be very approximate. Please get in touch if there's a sales slip in your old Scrabble set! I also think the lineup is complete, based on an observation of the Scrabble sets that come up for sale on eBay. If I've missed a standard set design, let me know.

So, here are the standard Scrabble sets arranged in a logical chronology. If you click on a box top, you will be taken to the section giving more details about the set, and giving the reasons for assigning it to such-and-such a time frame. The main aspects we look at are the box top design, the rules, the copyright and manufacturing statements, and the board.

In the beginning: December 1948 to July 1949
Scrabble box, Dec 1948 to mid 1949
SCRABBLE/The Crossword Game

July 1949 to ?
Scrabble box, 1949 to ?
SCRABBLE/The Crossword Game

? to April 1950
Scrabble box, ? to April 1950.
SCRABBLE

April 1950 to early 1953
Scrabble box, April 1950 to early 1953.
SCRABBLE/Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.

Early 1953 to October 1953
Scrabble box, early 1953 to October.
Added: Manufactured by Selchow & Righter Co., New York, N. Y.
for Production & Marketing Corp.

October 1953 through 1954?
Scrabble box, October 1953 through 1954?
Changed: "Corp." to "Company".

ca 1955 to 1957?
Scrabble box, ca 1955-1957?
Changed: "Company" to "Co."

ca 1958
Scrabble box, ca 1958.
Paper sticker changed to foil sticker; "Co." back to "Company".

ca 1959?
Scrabble box, ca 1959?
Added: A CROSSWORD GAME.

ca 1960?
Scrabble box, ca 1960?
New box color and texture.

ca 1961?
Scrabble box, ca 1961?
SelRight trademark and manufacturing statement stamped on box top.

ca 1963?
Scrabble box, ca 1963?
Simpler font for Selchow & Righter in lower right.

1965? to 1970?
Scrabble box, 1965?-1970.
Round sticker replaced with stamped logo.
Bay Shore address in lower right.

1970?
Scrabble box, 1970?
Bright maroon material.

1971 to 1976
Scrabble box, 1971-1976.
No more Production & Marketing Company.

1976 to 1980?
Scrabble box, 1976-1980?
Rectangular "S and R GAMES" logo.
Bay Shore zip code 11706 added.

1980? to 1982
Scrabble box, 1980?-1982.
Selchow & Righter "peacock tail" trademark.

1982 to 1986
Scrabble box, 1982-1986.
Selchow & Righter goes crazy with color.

1986 to 1989
Coleco period; external appearance same as above.

1989 to 1999
Scrabble box, 1989-1999.
Milton Bradley/Hasbro.

1999 to 2001
Scrabble box, 1999-2001
Milton Bradley/Hasbro.

2001 to ?
Scrabble box, 2001-?
Parker Brothers/Hasbro.

 

THUMBNAIL HISTORY OF SCRABBLE

This information was extracted mainly from Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis.

       1937-1947:  Alfred Butts finalizes Criss-Cross Words. He sells about 100 sets.
            1947:  Butts turns the game over to James Brunot. Brunot weeds out a few 
                   premium squares around the middle of the board; adds 50-point 
                   bingo bonus; renames it Scrabble!
     Summer 1948:  Brunot makes a few hundred(?) Scrabble sets, mainly for promotional use.
        Dec 1948:  1948 SCRABBLE RULES copyright. 
        Jul 1949:  1949 SCRABBLE RULES copyright. 
            1949:  2413 games sold.
        Apr 1950:  SCRABBLE trademark registered. 
            1950:  1632 games sold.
            1951:  4859 games sold.
     Summer 1952:  200 games/week. Brunot returns from vacation to find 2500 orders! 
3rd Quarter 1952:  500+ games/week. 
4th Quarter 1952:  2000 games/week.
      Early 1953:  6000 games/week; but orders arriving by tens of thousands! 
        Mar 1953:  Selchow & Righter licensed to produce Scrabble. 
        Oct 1953:  1953 SCRABBLE RULES copyright. 
            1953:  800,000 games sold, regular and cardboard.
            1954:  3,798,555 games sold.
            1955:  Selchow & Righter builds new factory, offices in Bay Shore, Long Island. 
        Jun 1956:  Patent granted for star points around the premium squares.  
        Sep 1957:  SelRight trademark registered.
      Jan 1 1971:  Selchow & Righter buys Scrabble outright from Brunot.
            1976:  1976 SCRABBLE RULES.
            1986:  Coleco buys Selchow & Righter.
            1989:  Hasbro acquires assets of bankrupt Coleco.  
            1989:  1989 SCRABBLE RULES. Milton Bradley division of Hasbro makes Scrabble. 
        Dec 1998:  Hasbro closes Vermont factory which made tiles and racks for 20 years. 
            1999:  1999 SCRABBLE RULES. 
            2001:  Parker Brothers division of Hasbro makes Scrabble. 

 

In the beginning: December 1948 to July 1949

Scrabble box top, December 1948 to July 1949

Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Rule copyright: 1948
  • Board copyright: 1948
  • Rectangular SCRABBLE sticker on box top.
  • Box top material: fairly "featureless" texture.
  • No date anywhere greater than 1948.
  • No trademark registration for SCRABBLE.
  • No mention anywhere of Selchow & Righter.
  • I use the December 1, 1948, copyright of the Scrabble rules as the nominal birthday of Scrabble. The endpoint of this period is taken to be about July 1949, when the 1949 rules were copyrighted.

    According to Word Freak, Scrabble's owner James Brunot started production in the summer of 1948, assembling the games in the kitchen of his home in Newtown, Connecticut. The impression is given that the Scrabble sets of 1948 were mainly for promotional purposes. Alfred Butts, the inventor of the game, received his first copy from Brunot in December 1948, and it's hardly thinkable that any real sales activity took place before that courtesy.

    Up through 2012, I and other Scrabble historians I was in contact with could find no hint of an existing "1948" set. You can appreciate what a narrow window we're talking about. Scrabble is just starting to take its first baby steps at the end of 1948, and the revised "1949" rules come along only a half year later. Might the "1948" sets have numbered in just the hundreds?

    Then in January 2013, Katie found Scrabble's holy grail, a "1948" set, complete and in excellent, hardly-used shape, in a Salvation Army thrift store in Connecticut. (Remember that, for its first few years, Scrabble was produced in Newtown, Connecticut.) When she found this web page with its woeful gap for the grandpop of them all, she "nearly fell out of her chair." No, I did not become the new, proud owner of the set - I never said it was a perfect world - but Katie graciously supplied photos. I hope you all appreciate this wonderful thing Katie has done for us!

    The rules printed on the inner lid are basically the same, in content and general appearance, as those we're all familiar with. (See my page on Scrabble rules through the decades for the complete 1948 rules.) In the beginning, only four example plays were given at the bottom. Not the lack of boxes. Below the rules is the copyright notice with the magical date, 1948, and no other. (Click to enlarge.)

    1948 Scrabble inner lid (click to enlarge.)

    THE PRODUCTION AND MARKETING CORPORATION
    

    Newtown, Connecticut

    Copyright 1948 - P. & M. Corp.

     
    Sorry, I don't know what is under the paste-over. Katie couldn't see anything through the strip. Was there an error, or were the scores omitted?

    Let's pause for a few words about James Brunot's company. As you see, it had the horribly lengthy and generic name, The Production and Marketing Corporation. In my view, that's one of the biggest drags in the exciting early history of Scrabble. Wouldn't a simple "J. Brunot & Co." have been far classier? Besides being stupendously dull and unwieldy, the chosen name will become ridiculously inappropriate when, a few years down the line, the Production and Marketing Corporation licenses Selchow & Righter to do the production and marketing of Scrabble. Got it? Yuck.

    Although nearly identical to the Scrabble board everyone is familiar with, the board in this set has some small differences. The "slick" pasted on the folding board truly is glossy, as opposed to the later, non-gloss paper. And no registered trademark (R) symbols are seen following "SCRABBLE" on the four sides of the board.

    Here's the lower left corner of the board. Understand that this "1948" copyright notice is for the Scrabble board (independent of the Scrabble rules) and will stay put at 1948 until almost the year 2000. (Click to enlarge.)

    Scrabble board, 1948 (click to enlarge.)

    COPYRIGHT
    1948 by
    PRODUCTION
    AND MARKETING
    CORPORATION
    --
    NEWTOWN
    CONN.
    

     
    Note the straight edges on the premium letter and word squares. The star point pips will come along about 1959-1960. Even though Selchow & Righter made boards for Brunot during this period, their name appears nowhere; they were simply hired to do a job.

    The texture of the box top material looks to be fairly uniform and featureless. I mention it so we have a basis with which to compare the box top texture in the upcoming period. Here is an inch square swatch of the 1948 box top. I pasted in the word "Game" from the label so you can judge the resolution of the photo for yourself.

    
    1948 Scrabble box top texture. 
    
    1948 "featureless" box top texture (one square inch.)

     
    The racks in this period, and for the next couple of years, had a "foot" projecting beyond the "bumper". Stories of the early days of Scrabble mention that racks were cut from floor molding. Do you have molding like this in your house? (Click to enlarge.)

    Scrabble rack, 1948 (click to enlarge.)
    Scrabble rack, 1948.

    Rack with extended foot, ca early 1950.
    Profile of above.

     
    Here's a look at the tiles in this particular set. You see they were sawed out of plywood, a detail mentioned in stories of the early days of Scrabble. I'm baffled, though, by the uppermost, white veneer. What's that? (Click to enlarge.)

    Scrabble tiles, 1948 (click to enlarge.)
    Laminated Scrabble tiles, 1948 - front, back and side.

     
    The "1948" set had a flyer insert. (Click to enlarge.)

    Flyer for Scrabble, 1948 (click to enlarge.)
    S C R A B B L E
    The Crossword Game!

     
    I wonder what they meant by, "No obscure definitions." Were they saying please don't play funny stuff against "older children"? Or was it a general plug for a regular-dictionary, vocabulary-based Scrabble?

    If you want to push the clock back a little further, you can view Alfred Butts' Criss-Cross Words, which was the original Scrabble before James Brunot modified it slightly and changed the name. Go to the National Scrabble Association web site and dig around for a link to "History".

     

    July 1949 to ?

    Scrabble box top, July 1949 to ?

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • *NEW* Rule copyright: 1949
  • *NEW* Box top material: "bumpy" texture.
  • Rectangular SCRABBLE sticker on box top.
  • No trademark registration for SCRABBLE.
  • No mention anywhere of Selchow & Righter.
  • Think of this as the early part of the "1949 Rules/pre-Registered Trademark" period. I use the July 23, 1949, copyright for the rules as the nominal starting point for this period.

    As always, the copyright notice is given below the rules printed inside the inner lid. There are still only four example plays given at the bottom, but in the 1949 rules, they are referenced from within the rules. (See my page on Scrabble rules through the decades.) (Click to enlarge.)

    (C) 1949 rule examples (click to enlarge.)

    Copyright 1949 by
    The Production and Marketing Corporation, Newtown, Connecticut.
    
    Previous Edition Copyright 1948 by The Production and Marketing Corporation.

    The board in this period is the same as before (showing the same 1948 copyright date) but I show the photo of this one as well because it goes a bit higher and lets you see more clearly the absence of the registered trademark (R) symbol below the E in "SCRABBLE". (Click to enlarge.)

    Scrabble board, ? to April 1950 (click to enlarge.)

    COPYRIGHT
    1948 by
    PRODUCTION
    AND MARKETING
    CORPORATION
    --
    NEWTOWN
    CONN.
    

    Now the box top material has what I mundanely call the "bumpy" texture. Here's a swatch, side by side with the previous, "featureless" texture.

    
    1948 Scrabble box top texture. 
    Scrabble box top 'bumpy' texture. 
          
    
    Left: 1948 "featureless" box top texture.
    Right: 1949 "bumpy" box top material.

     
    In this early phase, Brunot was still wrestling with the tiles. The tiles shown below are from a set from this period owned by Daniel Brannan. Daniel graciously supplied photos clearly showing the laminated wood (i.e., plywood).

    Early Scrabble tiles, laminated.
    Early Scrabble tiles, laminated.

     
    Another set from this period has solid wood tiles. Artem found it at an estate sale in Santa Cruz, California in latter 2011, and kindly shared his photos with us. Here's a closeup of the tiles - D O N (hey, that's a NOD to me!) Assuming that, once solid wood came into use for the tiles, Brunot never returned to the laminated wood, we would conclude that Artem's set came after Daniel's. The characters are more carefully positioned, and note the more stylish "1".

    Early Scrabble tiles, solid wood.
    Early Scrabble tiles, solid wood.

     
    Brunot's experimentation with tiles in the early years will make an interesting story in itself.

     

    ? to April 1950

    Scrabble box top, ? to April 1950.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • Rule copyright: 1949
  • Box top material: "bumpy" texture.
  • *NEW* Round SCRABBLE sticker on box top.
  • No trademark registration for SCRABBLE.
  • No mention anywhere of Selchow & Righter.
  • Think of this as the latter part of the "1949 Rules/pre-Registered Trademark" period. I use the April 25, 1950 registration of the SCRABBLE trademark as the nominal end point for this period.

    Here's a close-up of the box top sticker. (Click to enlarge.)

    Scrabble box top sticker, ? to April 1950 (click to enlarge.)

    SCRABBLE
    

    Note the absence of any indication of SCRABBLE being a registered trademark. The box top sticker will never again be so elegant!

    The board and inner lid are identical to those of the previous period, and the racks still have the the extended "foot". But now the tiles have a smoother finish with sanded, rounded-off edges. I believe the characters were silk-screened on the tiles, as opposed to stamped. The printed face is perfectly smooth and flat. (Nowadays, that would be called "braille-proof".) That may not be visible in the image below, but you can compare the font style with the later, familiar font style.

    Scrabble tiles, early 1950 and later.
    Left: Scrabble tile, this period, with smooth surface (silk-screened characters?)
    Right: Scrabble tile, later periods, with stamped characters, familiar font style.

     
    Dayne picked up this set at an estate sale in 2011 not far from Newtown, Connecticut - ground zero for early Scrabble production. Dayne found my web page and noticed that her set had to predate my earliest one, the next one down. Besides supplying nice photos, Dayne has also researched important Scrabble dates, such as for copyright and trademark registration.

    My set from this period includes a flyer, showing no date, called "WHAT WORD WOULD YOU ADD?" It shows a Scrabble game in progress on a table top and suggests a few plays. The back touts all of Scrabble's qualities: "absorbing"; "appeals to crossword puzzle fans"; "keen competition"; "fascinating and instructive game for older children"; "an investment in lasting enjoyment." If that sounds familiar, it's basically a truncated version of the flyer included with the 1948 set. Where that one had, "No obscure definitions", (which confused me), this one has, "It is an unexcelled vocabulary builder" (which I don't believe.) (Click to enlarge.)

    What word would you add? flyer (click to enlarge.)

     
    TRANSITIONAL ANOMALY? A game has been observed with the box top sticker (without trademark registration) from this period in combination with the box top texture ("wrinkly") and tiles with the familiar font style of the upcoming period (showing trademark registration.)

    TRANSITIONAL ANOMALY? A game has been observed with the board from this period (with no registered trademark (R) symbol) in combination with the box top sticker of the upcoming period (showing trademark registation.)

     

    ca April 1950 to early 1953

    Scrabble box top, May 1950 to early 1953.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • Rule copyright: 1949
  • *NEW* Box top material: "wrinkly" texture.
  • *NEW* Box top SCRABBLE sticker text: REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.
  • *NEW* Registered trademark (R) symbols on board.
  • No mention anywhere of Selchow & Righter.
  • The "SCRABBLE" trademark registration of April 25, 1950, is used as the nominal starting point for this period. It ends when Selchow & Righter is licensed to produce the game starting in early 1953. The new trademark registration is indicated on the box top sticker. (Click to enlarge.)

    ca April 1950 to early 1953 Scrabble box top sticker (click to enlarge.)

    SCRABBLE
    REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.
    

     
    The Scrabble board is identical to that of the previous period, including its glossiness, except for the new registered trademark (R) symbols following SCRABBLE on each side of the board. Here's an image of the lower left corner of the board; it should look the same as before except for the snazzy red (R). (Click to enlarge.)

    ca April 1950 to early 1953 Scrabble board (click to enlarge.)

     
    The box top material now has what I call the "wrinkly" texture. Here's a swatch, side by side with the earlier box top materials.

    
    1948 Scrabble box top texture. 
          
    Scrabble box top 'bumpy' texture. 
          
    Scrabble box top 'wrinkly' texture. 
    
    Left: 1948 "featureless" box top material.
    Middle: 1949 "bumpy" box top material.
    Right: 1950s "wrinkly" box top material.

     
    The "wrinkly" texture appears to be random, as if it was the result of random crunching and bunching while applying the veneer to the cardboard. But, upon closer inspection, you will see that there is a repeating pattern. One sub-pattern I call the "swooping eagle". (Click to enlarge!)

    Swooping eagle in the wrinkly pattern.
    "Swooping eagle" feature in the wrinkly pattern.

    Dig the wings? I can find the swooping eagle on every "wrinkly" box top in my collection, albeit in different locations, and even sideways or upside-down.

    The racks lose the "foot" of the previous periods, and take on a heavier, clunky look. Here it is in profile. (Click to enlarge.)

    Profile of Scrabble rack, early 1953?
    Profile of Scrabble rack, early 1953?

     
    The tiles have stamped characters again; you can feel the indentation. The new font style will remain in use a long time. Here's a quick comparison of the five tile types we've met.

    Five early Scrabble tile types.
    First: Plywood (4 layers); smooth face (characters not stamped.)
    Second: Plywood (3 layers); smooth face (characters not stamped); plain "1".
    Third: Solid wood (sharp edges); stamped characters.
    Fourth: Solid wood (smoothed edges); smooth face (characters not stamped.)
    Fifth: Solid wood (smoothed edges); stamped characters; long-lived font style.

     
    My set from this period includes the "WHAT WORD WOULD YOU ADD?" flyer described earlier. Delaine Davis owns a set exactly as described here, but with a different insert. It's a pamphlet called "Scrabble - All the Best Word Games Rolled Into One". Delaine kindly sent me images, and here are the back and front covers. (Click to enlarge.)

    1950 pamphlet - All the best word games rolled into one (click to enlarge.)

    The back of this pamphlet shows the year 1950. The claims made about Scrabble at that point in its history are mindboggling: "It's spreading like Wild Fire!", and "is not a passing fad." There are testimonials from doctors and hospitals and teachers and Parent's magazine. Scrabble parties are the rage, and the game can be bought "at leading stores."

    Whew! could the most wild-eyed ad writer have whipped that up for Scrabble in 1950? (See the thumbnail history at the top of this page.) After the 1953 explosion of Scrabblemania, certainly, but back when Scrabble had only sold a few thousand copies??? I'm stupefied.

    In the absence of other dating clues, you wouldn't know when your set was manufactured within this period of about four years. But simple probability associated with the skyrocketing sales figures suggests late, perhaps even early 1953. The thumbnail history shows that by the end of this period, Brunot was cranking out 6000 sets per week, which means that maybe half of the approximately 100,000 sets manufactured before the Selchow & Righter licensing were actually made in early 1953. It was because Brunot couldn't keep up with the flood of orders that he made the deal with S&R. And that is what marks the end of this dating period.

     
    TRANSITIONAL ANOMALY? A game has been observed with the box top sticker from this period (with no mention of Selchow & Righter) in combination with the inner lid of the upcoming period (with manufacturing statement by S&R.)

     

    Early 1953 to October 1953

    Early 1953 to October 1953 Scrabble box.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • Rule copyright: 1949
  • Box top material: "wrinkly" texture.
  • *NEW* SCRABBLE sticker text: Manufactured by Selchow & Righter for Production & Marketing Corp.
  • *NEW* Inner lid: Manufactured by Selchow & Righter...
  • *NEW* On board: Manufactured by Selchow & Righter...
  • This period begins about March 1953, when Selchow & Righter (S&R) took over the complete production and marketing of Scrabble. (Understand that they did not take over the ownership. That will happen in 1971.) The 1949 rules are still in place, however. The appearance of the 1953 rules in October marks the endpoint of this period.

    Here's a close-up of the box top sticker. (Click to enlarge.)

    Mid-1953 SCRABBLE sticker (click to enlarge.)

    MANUFACTURED BY SELCHOW & RIGHTER CO., NEW YORK, N. Y.
    SCRABBLE
    REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.
    FOR PRODUCTION & MARKETING CORP.
    

     
    A new manufacturing statement appears below the rules and above the unchanged (except for a typo) copyright notice in the lid:

    Manufactured by Selchow & Righter Co., New York, N.Y.
    for The Production and Marketing Corporation
    
    Copyright 1949 by The Production and Marketing Corporation
    Previous Edition Copyright 1948 by The Production Marketing [sic] Corporation

     
    The game board is now non-gloss, and the (R) symbols are basic black. A manufacturing statement replaces the copyright notice below the Letter Distribution:

    mid-1953 Scrabble board, lower left.
    Manufactured by
    SELCHOW & RIGHTER CO.
    NEW YORK        N. Y.
    
    FOR
    
    PRODUCTION
    AND MARKETING
    CORPORATION
    

     
    And the copyright notice for the board is moved to the bottom right. (Click to enlarge.)

    mid-1953 Scrabble board, bottom right (click to enlarge.)
                                 Copyright 1948 by       
     S C R A B B L E (R)   PRODUCTION AND MARKETING CORP.
                                 Printed in U.S.A.       
    

    Note the consistent use of "Corporation" throughout. Starting with the next period, it will always be the Production & Marketing Company. So, based on the sets I've seen, if you find the word "Corp." on the box top sticker, your set falls into this funny period of "1953, after S&R licensing, but before the 1953 rules."

    My set has the "WHAT WORD WOULD YOU ADD?" insert, but now the back is blank.

    Lastly, the single line border around the rules is changed to a double line, and the S&R folk flub the box around the Turn 1 example:

    First S&R inner box, 1953.

     
    TRANSITIONAL ANOMALY? A game has been observed with a box lid that has a sticker from this period (showing "Production & Marketing Corporation") and the inner lid from the upcoming period (showing the new, 1953 rules, and "Production & Marketing Company".)

     
    TRANSITIONAL ANOMALY? A game has been observed with the board from this period (showing "Production & Marketing Corporation") and the box lid, inside and out, from the upcoming period (showing the new, 1953 rules, and "Production & Marketing Company".)

     

    October 1953 through 1954?

    ca 1954 Scrabble box.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • *NEW* Rule copyright: 1953
  • Box top material: "wrinkly" texture.
  • *NEW* SCRABBLE sticker text: Manufactured by S&R for P&M Company.
  • Potential insert: 1867 S&R 1954 game catalog leaflet.

    I use the October copyright for the 1953 rules as the nominal starting point for this period.

    Wherever it's shown on this set, the Production & Marketing Corporation has become the Production & Marketing Company. Here's the box top sticker (actually taken from a different set than shown above.) (Click to enlarge.)

    1954 SCRABBLE sticker (click to enlarge.)

    SCRABBLE
    REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.
    MANUFACTURED BY SELCHOW & RIGHTER CO., NEW YORK, N. Y. 
    FOR PRODUCTION & MARKETING COMPANY
    

     
    The new 1953 rules added Turn 5, in which BIT is played, in the "Examples of Word Formation and Scoring" shown at the bottom. (Click to enlarge.)

    1953 example plays (click to enlarge.)

    For a complete description of changes from the 1949 to 1953 rules see my Changes to the box top rules page.

    In the copyright notice below the rules in the lid, 1953 is added to the list:

    Manufactured by Selchow & Righter Co., New York, N.Y.
    for The Production and Marketing Company
    
    Copyright 1948, 1949, 1953 by
    Production and Marketing Company
    
    

    The game board is the same as in the previous period, but with "Corporation" changed to "Company" in both places. Here's the manufacturing statement below the Letter Distribution:

    Manufactured by
    SELCHOW & RIGHTER CO.
    NEW YORK        N. Y.
    
    FOR
    
    PRODUCTION
    AND MARKETING
    COMPANY
    
    

    My two complete sets from this period have a Selchow & Righter game catalog leaflet prominently marked "1954". (Click to enlarge.)

    1954 Selchow & Righter games catalog leaflet (click to enlarge.)

    1867  S&R  1954
    Families for Four
    Generations Have Played 
    S&R Fine Games
    

    Here's the write-up for Scrabble in the leaflet:

    Scrabble is a fascinating word game with a scoring feature--and it's so easy to learn. Once played, old and young alike, experience a tantalizing challenge to play it again and again.

    My set has the same "WHAT WORD WOULD YOU ADD?" flyer which goes back to 1950. There is also a Missing Tile/Defective Tile form. It gives S&R's Brooklyn address for complaints:

    SELCHOW AND RIGHTER CO.
    976 Kent Avenue        Brooklyn 5, N. Y.
    

    In this early stage of Scrabble history, Selchow & Righter had its headquarters and factory in Brooklyn. The New York City address seen on the box and board refers to their office in the Toy Manufacturers Association building in Manhattan.

     

    ca 1955 to 1957?

    ca 1955-1957? Scrabble box.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • Rule copyright: 1953
  • Box top material: "wrinkly" texture.
  • *NEW* SCRABBLE sticker text: ...for P&M "CO." (instead of "COMPANY").
  • Potential insert: 1955 S&R game catalog leaflet.
  • Bay Shore address on Missing Tile form.

    This period starts with the SCRABBLE sticker text changed to Production & Marketing "CO." from the previous P&M "COMPANY". The inner lid and the board are identical to the previous "1954 period", but I place this set next in line because mine has a 1955 S&R games catalog insert.

    This period ends when a foil sticker appears on a set that can be confidently pegged to 1958.

    Here's a close-up of the new SCRABBLE sticker. (Click to enlarge.)

    1955 SCRABBLE sticker 
(click to enlarge.)
    MANUFACTURED BY SELCHOW & RIGHTER CO., NEW YORK, N. Y. 
    SCRABBLE
    REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.
    FOR PRODUCTION & MARKETING CO.
    

     
    Here's the 1955 S&R games catalog. (Click to enlarge.)

    1955 Selchow & Righter catalog
(click to enlarge.)
    S&R
    INVITATION
    TO PLAY
    

    Actually, the dating took a bit of sleuthing. Nowhere does this catalog say "1955", but there are some solid clues. It claims Selchow & Righter has been "creating best-selling games for 88 years". If you add 88 years to Selchow & Righter's birth year, 1867 (see the 1954 catalog), you arrive at 1955. In the company's address, what had been "Dept. M" in the 1954 pamphlet becomes "Dept. 55", looking suspiciously like a year coded in there. The two 18-page pamphlets are very similar to each other. They show the same games with two exceptions. Two games dropped from the 1954 pamphlet were replaced with Down You Go and Get That License. Web research indicates "Get That License" had a 1955 copyright. That should be enough evidence. Of course, I can't say exactly when the "1955" pamphlet first appeared and how long was it used.

    Adding to the 1955-ness is a Missing Tile/Defective Tile form that gives a Bay Shore address. The Bay Shore factory became operational by August, 1955:

    SELCHOW AND RIGHTER CO.
    505 East Union Street        Bay Shore, L. I.
    

     
    Confusing matters a little is an orphaned box top I have with a SCRABBLE sticker showing "COMPANY." again, but note the period this time. Can you handle the excitement? Here's the proof.

    A 1954-1957 Scrabble sticker, with PERIOD!

    So, the question is, can we be sure these small changes to the round, paper SCRABBLE sticker came along in an orderly sequence useful for dating, or did Selchow & Righter capriciously jump around between "COMPANY", "CO." and "COMPANY." over the course of several years from about 1954 to 1957? Does anyone have an S&R games catalog insert that can be pegged to 1956 or 1957?

    My set has the familiar, old "What Word Would You Add? flyer.

    Reminder: the premium square star points, which we love to pieces even though they don't work worth beans, still haven't made their appearance.

     

    ca 1958

    ca 1958 Scrabble box.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • Rule copyright: 1953
  • Box top material: "wrinkly" texture.
  • *NEW* SCRABBLE sticker changed from paper to foil.
  • Potential insert: Scrabble For Juniors flyer.
  • This period starts with the appearance of a foil SCRABBLE sticker on the box top.

    Only the box top sticker has changed; the inside lid and the board are still exactly the same as back when the 1953 rules appeared. Here's a close-up of the first foil sticker. Remember we saw "COMPANY", "COMPANY.", and "CO." on the previous paper stickers, going back to late 1953. Now we see "COMPANY" again. (Click to enlarge.)

    Foil 1958 SCRABBLE sticker (click to enlarge.)
    MANUFACTURED BY SELCHOW & RIGHTER CO., NEW YORK, N. Y. 
    SCRABBLE
    REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.
    FOR PRODUCTION & MARKETING COMPANY
    

     
    This set has an inserted flyer for Scrabble for Juniors. What makes that interesting is that Scrabble For Juniors dates from 1958, and this flyer makes it sound like it's still a new game. "Just what the small fry ordered..." "The answer to countless requests for a Scrabble type word game suitable for youngsters..."

    And, if that's not enough to prove a 1958 date, my set has a handwritten note on a handmade, hexagonal gift card with pinked edges:

    To 
    Charles Allen
    Love 
    Mommy
    "1958"
    

     
    So there we are - after floating around a bit uncertainly for a few years, we've pegged a set in the procession to a precise year.

     
    TRANSITIONAL ANOMALY? A game has been observed with the box top material and sticker from this period, and a board with premium square star points from two periods down the line(!) Methinks Selchow & Righter was freely mixing game component stock in this era.

     

    ca 1959?

    Scrabble box 1959?

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • Rule copyright: 1953
  • *NEW* "A CROSSWORD GAME" added to Foil SCRABBLE sticker.
  • This period starts with the addition of "A CROSSWORD GAME" to the foil SCRABBLE sticker. Everything else is the same as before. The "ca 1959?" date is used for convenience. I can't say when the previous period ended.

    Here's a close-up of the box top sticker. (Click to enlarge.)

    SCRABBLE sticker 1960? (click to enlarge.)
    SCRABBLE
    A CROSSWORD GAME
    

     
    We have Greg Warner to thank for alerting me to this set which fits in here, and for his nice photos. There's also a funky thing going on with a different, boxier, font style making an appearance on the tiles about this time. For now, I don't want to overload this page. But when me and my team of Scrabble historians get to the bottom of it, you'll be the first to know.

     

    ca 1960?

    Scrabble box 1960?

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • Rule copyright: 1953
  • *NEW* Box top material: dark brown, with "weave" texture.
  • *NEW* Board has star points around premium squares.
  • *NEW* Bay Shore address appears on board.

    The "ca 1960?" date is used for convenience; I wish I had some auxiliary evidence to help date this landmark set more precisely. All I can say is that it's at least two designs after "ca 1958", and there are several more designs before we get to 1971.

    Externally, this period is marked by a new box top material with a weave texture and a darker brown color. The foil SCRABBLE sticker is the same as before. Internally, we finally get our star points (ta da!) around the premium squares!

    Here's a swatch of the new weave texture side by side with the earlier box top materials. Remember that the box top material is also used on the back of the board.

    
    1948 Scrabble box top texture. 
      
    Scrabble box top 'bumpy' texture. 
      
    Scrabble box top 'wrinkly' texture. 
      
    Scrabble box top 'weave' texture. 
    
    1. 1948 "featureless" texture.
    2. 1949 "bumpy" texture.
    3. 1950s "wrinkly" texture.
    4. Weave texture.

     
    Here's our spiffy new board with the eagerly awaited star points:

    Scrabble board, 1960?
    Manufactured by
    SELCHOW & RIGHTER CO.
    BAY SHORE, N.Y.
    FOR
    PRODUCTION
    AND MARKETING
    COMPANY
    
    Patent No. 2,752,158
    

     
    That patent number you see on the board, 2,752,158, is strictly for the star point pips; it is not a patent for the board itself. The idea is that, after putting a tile down, you can see what sort of square it's on without picking it up again. (Does it work for you?)

    If it seems odd that it should take so long for the star point pips to appear after the patent was granted in June 1955, we have a very likely explanation: Brunot was keeping the star points as a special feature of his deluxe Scrabble sets. Remember that, while Brunot licensed S&R to produce the standard Scrabble set, he produced the deluxe sets himself. Dan (of 1949 rectangle label set fame, above) has an early deluxe set with a board showing the star points, but noting the patent is pending (PAT. PEND.) The patent was filed for on October 28 1954, so these star points may date to 1954. Also note the new 1954 copyright. This was surely for the star point design as well, but notice it never appeared on the standard set boards, even after the star points came along.

    Deluxe Scrabble board, 1954
    Deluxe Scrabble board, 1954?
    COPYRIGHT
    1948 & 1954 by
    PRODUCTION
    AND MARKETING
    COMPANY
    --
    NEWTOWN
    CONN.
    
    PAT. PEND.
    

     
    So that explains why it took so long for the star points to appear, but I don't know why it took so long for the Bay Shore address to appear on a main component of the Scrabble set. After all, the Bay Shore factory and offices were built in 1955. Previously, we've only seen it on the Missing Tile/Defective Tile form.

     

    ca 1961?

    ca 1961? Scrabble box.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • Rule copyright: 1953
  • Box top material: dark brown, with "weave" texture.
  • *NEW* Foil SCRABBLE sticker with plain border.
  • *NEW* SelRight trademark and manufacturing information stamped on box top.
  • This period starts with a simplified foil SCRABBLE sticker with a plain border, and a SelRight trademark and the manufacturing information stamped on box top at the lower right.

    The dating is again just a guess; it has to follow the previous period, and leave room for at least two more Production & Marketing ownership periods before 1971. If we think we can use the registration date of the SelRight trademark as a clue, we set ourselves up for another disappointment: the trademark was filed for on May 29 1956 and it was registered on September 3 1957. Why the delay in using it?

    Here's a close-up of the box top sticker. (Click to enlarge.)

    1961 SCRABBLE sticker (click to enlarge.)
    SCRABBLE
    A CROSSWORD GAME
    

     
    Here's a close-up of the lower right box top. (Click to enlarge.)

    1961 SCRABBLE sticker (click to enlarge.)
    SELRIGHT
    TRADE MARK REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.
    MANUFACTURED BY SELCHOW & RIGHTER CO., NEW YORK, N. Y.
    FOR PRODUCTION AND MARKETING COMPANY    MADE IN U.S.A.
    

     
    The inside lid is unchanged from late 1953, and the board is unchanged from the previous, "ca 1960?", period, when the star point pips came along.

     

    ca 1963?

    ca 1963? Scrabble box.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • Rule copyright: 1953
  • Box top material: dark brown, with "weave" texture.
  • *NEW* Simpler font for Selchow & Righter in lower right.
  • The only change here is a more basic font style for Selchow & Righter stamped in the lower right of the box top. Compare with the more ornate - and somewhat old-fashioned? - font style used in the previous period.

    The dating is again just a guess; it would seem to follow the previous period, and has to leave room for at least one more Production & Marketing ownership period before 1971.

    The endpoint for this period is when the round SCRABBLE sticker is replaced with a stamped Scrabble logo.

    One handy tool for assistance in dating is zip codes. They came along in 1963, so if you find a zip code on any of the inserts in your Scrabble box, you have a lower bound of 1963 for the year of manufacture. The zip code for Bay Shore is 11706.

     

    1965? to 1970?

    1965?-1970 Scrabble box.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • Rule copyright: 1953
  • Box top material: dark brown, with "weave" texture.
  • *NEW* Stamped "Scrabble" logo on box top.
  • *NEW* S&R address given as Bay Shore on the box top.
  • This period starts with the appearance of a stamped, round Scrabble logo where the sticker was. For the first time, the Bay Shore address appears on the box top. (Remember that the Bay Shore factory was running in 1955.) Once again, the starting point of this period is just a year chosen for convenience.

    Here's a close-up of the Scrabble logo. (Click to enlarge.)

    1965 stamped Scrabble logo (click to enlarge.)
    SCRABBLE
    CROSSWORD GAME
    

     
    Here's a close-up of the lower right box top showing the Bay Shore address. (Click to enlarge.)

    1965 SelRight trademark stamp (click to enlarge.)
    SELRIGHT
    TRADE MARK REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.
    MANUFACTURED BY SELCHOW & RIGHTER CO., Bay Shore, N. Y.
    FOR PRODUCTION AND MARKETING COMPANY    MADE IN U.S.A.
    

     
    The inside lid is unchanged from late 1953, and the board is unchanged from the "ca 1960?" period.

    A full-color box top cover sheet was used during some or all of this period. The owner of this unopened set specifically dated it to 1968.

    
    1968 Scrabble set with color insert. 
    

     

    1970?

    1970 Scrabble box.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • Rule copyright: 1953
  • *NEW* Box top material: bright maroon, with "weave" texture.
  • I suspect that this set with the bright maroon material appeared not long before the start of the 1971 period, when Selchow & Righter bought Scrabble outright from Brunot's Production & Marketing company. For the longest time I had believed that the S&R ownership period was ushered in with this bright, new color, so finding it on a P&M set was quite a surprise.

    Here's a slightly clearer look at the manufacturing and trademark stamp in the lower right box top. It's the same as before, on a brighter material. (No enlargement.)

    1970 SelRight trademark stamp.

     
    TRANSITIONAL ANOMALY? I'm pretty certain I've seen a set from the upcoming S&R ownership period with the old dark brown color from the previous period.

     

    1971 to 1976

    1971-1976 Scrabble box.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: still 1948, now held by S&R.
  • Rule copyright: still 1953, now held by S&R.
  • Box top material: bright maroon, with "weave" texture.
  • *NEW* No mention of P&M Company on box top or anywhere.
  • This period is easy to date. James Brunot sold Scrabble outright to Selchow & Righter, and they took over right at the beginning of 1971. At this point, all references to The Production and Marketing Company disappear from the game forever. To mark the beginning of this new era, I suppose, S&R pulled out a brighter color for the box and board. The dark brown became a bright maroon. The endpoint for this period is 1976, when the rules were revised.

    The stamped Scrabble logo is the same as before, but why not have a look with the brighter background color. (Click to enlarge.)

    1971 stamped Scrabble logo (click to enlarge.)
    SCRABBLE
    CROSSWORD GAME
    

     
    Here's a close-up of the manufacturing information on the lower right box top - without the Production and Marketing Company. (Click to enlarge.)

    1971 SelRight trademark stamp (click to enlarge.)
    SELRIGHT
    TRADE MARK REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.
    MANUFACTURED BY SELCHOW & RIGHTER CO., Bay Shore, N. Y.
    MADE IN U.S.A.
    

     
    Both the manufacturing statement and the copyright notice below the rules in the lid see the first change since late 1953; the Bay Shore address appears, and the Production and Marketing Company is gone. (A moment of silence, please.)

    Manufactured by Selchow & Righter Co., Bay Shore, N.Y. 11706
    
    Copyright 1948, 1949, 1953 by
    Selchow & Righter Company
    
    

    Likewise, on the board, there's a hole where the Production and Marketing Company used to be:

    1971 board, solely S&R
    Manufactured by
    SELCHOW & RIGHTER CO.
    BAY SHORE, N.Y.
    
    
    
    
    
    Patent No. 2,752,158
    

     
    And wouldn't you know? When I finally do find another insert with solid dating evidence, I don't need it! A Scrabble Players Newspaper from Fall 1973 was inserted in the box.

     

    1976 to 1980?

    1976-1980? Scrabble box.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • *NEW* Rule copyright: 1976
  • Box top material: bright maroon, with "weave" texture.
  • *NEW* Rectangular "S and R Games" logo on box top.
  • This period begins with the new 1976 rules. You already know how much I despise the rule change that turned Scrabble into a bluff game, so I'll keep my trap shut. The endpoint for this period is when the Selchow and Righter "peacock tail" trademark appears on the box top. That would likely be after 1979 since my set from this period dates from 1979, based on handwritten notes in the box.

    The Scrabble logo is the same as in the previous period. Here's a close-up of the manufacturing information on the lower right box top - without the P&M Company. (Click to enlarge.)

    1976 S and R Games logo (click to enlarge.)
    S and R Games
    SELCHOW & RIGHTER CO.
    BAY SHORE, N. Y. 11706
    MADE IN U.S.A.
    

     
    For a complete description of changes from the 1953 rules to the 1976 rules see my Changes to the box top rules page.

    In the copyright notice below the rules in the lid, 1976 is added to the list:

    Manufactured by Selchow & Righter Co., Bay Shore, N.Y. 11076
    Copyright 1948, 1949, 1953, 1976 By
    Selchow and Righter Co.
    
    SCRABBLE is a registered trademark of Selchow & Righter Company.
    

     
    The game board is the same as in the previous period, but with a zip code added and the mystery number 1776 inserted in the hole left by the Production and Marketing Company:

    Manufactured by
    SELCHOW & RIGHTER CO.
    BAY SHORE, N.Y.
    11706
    
    
    1776
    
    
    Patent No. 2,752,158
    

    My best stab at "1776" is that Scrabble is S&R's game No. 17, and 76 indicates the year of the last revision. Scrabble was "No. 17" in the old 1954 S&R games brochure. You can find "No. 17" printed on the full-color, box top cover sheet that was used in this period. And further below you will see "No. 17" printed in the upper right corner of the box top from the 1982-1986 period . Anyhow, just a guess.

    My set has some game highlights recorded in the bottom of the box which indicate it was purchased in the first half of 1979. On June 3 1979 I made an 88-point play without the benefit of a bonus. Take that.

     

    1980? to 1982

    1980?-1982 Scrabble box.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • Rule copyright: 1976
  • *NEW* Selchow & Righter "peacock tail" trademark on box top.
  • This period begins with the appearance of the Selchow & Righter "peacock tail" trademark stamped on the box top in the lower right. The endpoint for this period is 1982, when the beloved, plain old, simple Scrabble box gets smothered to death with four-color artwork.

    I don't have a set from this period. In an email, Debra described the box color as "a light burgundy" and the material texture as "a very tiny cross-hatch herringbone."

    Notice that the "peacock tail" survives the transition and gets colorized in the next period. I wonder what the NBC folk thought?

     

    1982 to 1986

    1982-1986 Scrabble box.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • Rule copyright: 1976
  • *NEW* Box top: four-color artwork.
  • *NEW* Added to board: SCRABBLE "brand crossword game".
  • Finally, they take some of the guesswork out of it by printing copyright dates for the artwork on the box. This box top design is copyright 1982. The endpoint for the period is when Coleco buys out Selchow & Righter in 1986, even though the box top will stay the same.

    The inner lid is unchanged from the 1976 period, but there's a small addition to the board. The words "brand crossword game" have been appended to "SCRABBLE" on three sides. (Click to enlarge.)

    1982 Scrabble board (click to enlarge.)
    S C R A B B L E (R)               
                  BRAND CROSSWORD GAME
    

     
    My set has to be 1983 or later, since the box bottom shows a 1983 copyright. In fact, this period can be subdivided further based on box bottoms. Here are three observed box bottoms accompanying the new box top, in order of appearance (no enlargement):

    1982-1986 Scrabble box bottoms.

     
    (And, to be honest, that's really a fine-looking box top!)

     

    1986 to 1989

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: 1948
  • Rule copyright: 1976
  • Box top: four-color artwork.
  • *NEW* Inner lid: Manufactured by Selchow & Righter, a subsidiary of Coleco Industries, Inc.
  • *NEW* On board: R500600

    This is the Coleco period. Coleco bought Selchow & Righter in 1986 after S&R was caught with its pants down when the bottom fell out of the Trivial Pursuit craze.

    For the longest time, I had been waiting to stumble on a Coleco set to add to this page, either at a flea market or on ebay. Why were they so elusive? The answer is, because they look just like the Selchow & Righter sets from the previous period. The clues are internal.

    Below the rules on the inner lid is the statement, "Manufactured by Selchow & Righter, a subsidiary of Coleco Industries, Inc."

    And, in the bottom left-hand corner of the board, just below the patent number, is Coleco's identification number, R500600. Will get you some good pics when I can.

     

    1989 to 1999

    1989-1999 Milton Bradley period Scrabble box.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Board copyright: still 1948, now held by Milton Bradley Company.
  • *NEW* Rule copyright: 1989
  • *NEW* Box top: Milton Bradley four-color artwork.
  • This is the Milton Bradley period. Milton Bradley is a division of Hasbro, which bought out Coleco. The box design shows a 1989 copyright.

    The 1989 rule "changes" were dedicated mostly to rubbing out masculine pronouns. For a description of the main changes from the 1976 to the 1989 rules see my Changes to the box top rules page.

    In the lid, the manufacturing statement is disposed of. Milton Bradley appears as the copyright holder, and 1989 is added to the list.

    Copyright 1948, 1949, 1953, 1976, 1989 Milton Bradley Company. All Rights Reserved.  4024
    

     
    Here's the Milton Bradley credit on the board. (Click to enlarge.)

    1982 Scrabble board (click to enlarge.)
                    BRAND    CROSSWORD GAME   
    S C R A B B L E (R)      by Milton Bradley
    

     
    The set below is from near the end of this Milton Bradley period; there's a 1998 date on the back of the box. Note Hasbro's marketing ploy, "Plan a Family Game Night," which will carry over into the next periods. (Click to enlarge.)

    Later Milton Bradley Scrabble box (click to enlarge.)
    Plan a Family Game Night

    Hasbro's Vermont factory which made the wood tiles and racks was closed in early 1998. This explains the transition from nice, comfortable, rounded edges on the tiles to cheap, sharp edges during the Milton Bradley reign. This set with the 1998 date has the sharp tiles and a statement that the racks and tiles are made in China.

     

    1999 to 2001

    1999-2001 Milton Bradley Scrabble box.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • *NEW* Board design now claimed by Hasbro.
  • *NEW* Rule copyright: 1999
  • *NEW* Box top artwork.
  • The 1999 rules show some mildly interesting modifications, including making "Bingo" the official name for a 7-tile play. They also introduced a huge mistake which would overturn basic Scrabble play if anyone noticed! For a description of the main changes from the 1989 to the 1999 rules see my Changes to the box top rules page.

    In the claimant information below the rules in the lid, the earlier copyright years are tossed:

    www.scrabble.com
    SCRABBLE, the associated logo, the design of the distinctive SCRABBLE brand gameboard and the distinctive letter tile designs
    are trademarks of HASBRO in the United States and Canada. (C)1999 Hasbro, Pawtucket, RI 02862. All Rights Reserved. 04024-I
    

     
    The game board has been widened by a little over an inch, although the actual playing area is unchanged. The uniform gray background has been replaced with a blotchy swirl of tan and light brown. The copyright claim reads: (C) 1999 HASBRO All Rights Reserved.

     

    2001 to ?

    2001-? Parker Brothers period Scrabble box.

    Defining characteristics of sets for this period:

  • Rule copyright: 1999
  • *NEW* Board design.
  • *NEW* Box top: Parker Brothers four-color artwork.
  • This starts the Parker Brothers period. Parker Brothers is also a division of Hasbro. The inner lid is identical to the previous, Milton Bradley, period. (Only Hasbro is mentioned; not the subsidiary.)

    The board has gone back to the classic gray background, albeit with some modern shading. The letter distribution is shown twice. It's upside-down at the top of the board, apparently for the convenience of people who like to read the Scrabble board upside-down (but have trouble reading the letter distribution upside-down!) The claimant information below the rules in the lid (see previous Milton Bradley period) is now printed along the bottom of the game board.

    Let me draw your attention to something really crazy on the box bottom. The graphics show the same game in progress as on the box bottom of the previous, Milton Bradley, period - exact same words on the board, exact same four racks, exact same bag of tiles spilling out the exact same tiles, and all in the exact same position and orientation. BUT, somehow the graphic arts department managed to work the new board underneath the words played on the board! How'd they do that???

    And there's a funny anecdote in "Word Freak" where the author observes Scrabble sets being manufactured ca 2000. (The book is copyright 2001.) He noticed that some of the tiles pictured on the back of the boxes coming off the assembly line show the wrong point value; for example, J=6, C=2, and K=8. The error was quickly corrected, so if you own one of these sets, you surely have a rarity!

     


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