The National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong inducted Scrabble in 2004. Since then we’ve made efforts to collect many different versions of the famous “scrambled word game.”
Visit The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame web page for Scrabble, and you’ll learn that unemployed architect Alfred M. Butts invented the game during the Great Depression. Butts first called his game Lexico, and later Criss Cross. The Strong holds one of very few known copies of the Criss Cross game board. Butts employed a blueprint method and then glued the paper print onto cardboard. Any player will note the similarity to today’s Scrabble board. Butts—who retained his patent and earned royalties on every set sold afterwards—sold the production rights to James Brunot, who tweaked the rules and changed the name to Scrabble. Sales dribbled along until the president of Macy’s discovered the game in 1952. Other stores quickly followed and by 1953 Brunot couldn’t produce enough games to satisfy the demand. Scrabble has sold steadily ever since.