The History of Scrabble

Scrabble, a family game that has been loved by generations of families since its inception in 1938, is still a popular board game. This article explains the history of Scrabble and explains how it became a global game.

Alfred Mosher Butts from New York, an unemployed architect, invented Scrabble in 1938. His new game was based on an earlier game called "Lexico", and he called it "Criss Crosswords". He created the Scrabble word frequencies and tabulated them himself. You can also find different scrabble words via

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These have largely remained the same. Butts was disappointed that the first Scrabble version didn't succeed. He created a few sets but couldn’t find a manufacturer to stock them.

Ten years later, a fan of the original game decided he would like to sell the idea. James Brunot, a Connecticut resident, had purchased one of the original sets of "Criss Crosswords" and loved it. Alfred Mosher Butts granted him the right to make the game and he would receive a royalty for each set sold.

He simplified the rules and edited the Scrabble word list. He also adjusted the position of some high-point squares, and renamed it "Scrabble".

Brunot initially produced approximately 2,400 sets of Scrabble but failed to make a profit. It looked like Scrabble was doomed to fail, unless for a fortunate coincidence. Macy's president was introduced to the game while on vacation. He returned to Macy's department store after realizing that the game wasn't in stock.