Like Scrabble

Brunot could no longer keep up with the demand and sold the rights to a company that had earlier rejected Criss Cross Words. Today, Scrabble ranks just below Monopoly as the second best-selling board game in American history.did a deal with Butts, getting the rights to the game in exchange for a royalty on every copy sold. The project didn’t start well, Brunot losing money in the first four years, but after Jack Strauss, president of the Macy’s chain of stores, played the game on holidays he put in an order for his New York store – within two years it had sold two million copies.

And he was, in 1955, when – after years of research, and not a little ridicule – his hook-and-loop fastener was finally patented under the name Velcro, a combination of the French words for hook and loop. The rest is, admittedly noisy, history.Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral began inventing when he was a child, most of his designs – notably the asparagus peeler – were not quite up there with the wheel in the world-changing stakes. But a walk with his dog in 1941 set him on the path to his most famous invention, Velcro.

Noticing that his jacket, socks and the dog’s coat were covered with burrs from burdock he examined them under a microscope and noted that their barbed, hook-like seeds interlocked with the looped fibres in his clothes. He had a think and reckoned if he could use the same principle in the design of a fabric fastener he’d be laughing.

The board game had been around since 1938, invented by Alfred Mosher Butts and called Criss Cross Words, but had no success in attracting the interest of games manufacturers. Ten years later, a James Brunot, who owned a copy of Criss Cross Words, decided the game could be a winner if it was well marketed and if it had a catchier name. Like Scrabble.

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