Alfred M. Butts, inventor of Scrabble

Alfred M. Butts,  as a jobless architect in the Depression invented the enduringly popular board game Scrabble. Although its sales eventually approached 100 million sets, Scrabble languished for nearly two decades, rejected by major game manufacturers as unmarketable. Mr. Butts was a fan of chess, crosswords and jigsaw puzzles. Working in his fifth floor walk-up in Jackson Heights, Queens, he designed the new game to be based on knowledge, strategy and chance. He lined the original playing board into small squares and cut the 100 lettered wooden tiles by hand. First players of the game included his wife and family friends. Mrs.… Read More

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James Bogardus, inventor and architect

James Bogardus (March 14, 1800 – April 13, 1874) was an American inventor and architect, the pioneer of American cast-iron architecture, for which he took out a patent in 1850. He was born in the town of Catskill, New York and was a descendant of the Rev. Everardus Bogardus, the second clergyman in New Netherlands. At the age of fourteen, Bogardus quit school to start an apprenticeship at a watchmaker. He began inventing early in his life and by the age of 28 had patented a cotton spinning machine, an engraving machine for bank notes, and a milling machine for… Read More

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Eliphalet Williams Bliss, manufacturer, inventor

Eliphalet Williams Bliss (April 12, 1836 – July 21, 1903) was a manufacturer and inventor who established the E. W. Bliss Company of Brooklyn. His company supplied the US Navy with Whitehead and Bliss-Leavitt torpedoes, as well as projectiles for its naval guns during the Spanish–American War, World War I and World War II. He was born in NY and attended public school. Eventually he moved to Connecticut to work at a gun factory. After fighting in the Civil War, he married and moved back to Brooklyn where he worked for a printing company. In 1867, Bliss founded the machine… Read More

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