During the time of the introduction of cartons and of jigsaw puzzles another change was taking place which was developing much more slowly. A writer by the name of David Whitelaw persuaded the company to produce and sell a word game - Lexicon. This was basically a pack of cards but with the faces changed from court cards and pips to letters of the alphabet. The summer of 1932 saw the introduction of this game, when a small edition was produced and sold to test the market. This was the first Waddingtons game and its introduction had an unsuccessful beginning. The first edition was sold through the stationery shops at 1s. 9d. each and sales were practically non-existent. It was decided to pack Lexicon more attractively and raise the price to 2s. 6d. per pack. This was an unprecedented approach in the stationery world and there was much opposition and criticism. However, when the real launching took place in the autumn, heralded by an intensive newspaper advertising campaign, sales, instead of being a hundred a month were thousands a day, and there was a wonderful success which has continued up to the present time.
It was Lexicon which created the opportunity for Waddingtons to get Monopoly, because it gave the company credibility.
Lexicon is now owned and marketed by Winning Moves, who purchased the brand from Hasbro, along with Waddingtons No.1 Playing cards. (Hasbro bought Waddingtons Games Ltd in 1994).
Soon Lexicon was published in a smart slip case and many different editions have followed, including foreign language versions.
Note: the above account of the introduction of Lexicon is taken from “A History of Waddingtons” by Victor Watson, Northern Heritage Publications, 2008.
Two Black Peter games by Willy Mayrl published by Ferd Piatnik & Söhne, 1950s.
Myriorama of Italian scenery, 1824.
Sergeant-Major card game devised by W.G.Smith
The Story of Pepys Games by Rex Pitts
Jacob Wolfe Spear founded his company manufacturing fancy goods in 1879 near Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany
Chad Valley Co. Ltd (incorporating Johnson Brothers (Harborne) Ltd, the long-established UK brand bought by Woolworths in 1988 and now sold at Argos.
Multum in Parvo published a range of indoor games during the period from 1884-1927.
The founder of Ariel Productions, Philip Marx, was a prolific publisher of children’s books and comics towards the end of and just after the Second World War.
Kum-Bak Sports, Toys & Games MFG Co., Ltd, London S.E.11
Crazy People children’s card game illustrated by caricaturist and graphic artist Walter Trier, c.1950.
‘History of fashion’ cultural quartet game designed by Erika Werner-Nestler, 1954.
Dutch costumes quartet game designed by Gerard Huijg, 1983.
Panko (Votes for Women) suffragette card game published by Peter Gurney Ltd, c.1912.
Anonymous Snap game, 1930s.
Nederlands Stedenkwartet with heraldic needlepoint patterns by Permin, c.1970.
Lion Coffee Mother Goose card game, late 19th C.
Panto People published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.
Hats-Off! miniature card game published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.
Zoo-Boots published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.
The XIXth Century published by John Jaques & Son, c.1875.
The ‘Rinker’ highly amusing snap game, c.1910.
Österreichisches Trachten-quartett Nr.282 published by Ferd Piatnik & Söhne.
Round the World Happy Families by Chiefton Products Ltd of Bristol, c.1950s.
Geschichte des Buchgewerbes illustrated by Ludwig Winkler, published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck.
“So Fängt Es An” beautifully illustrated by M. Neugebauer, published by Helingsche Verlagsanstalt, c.1950.
Abbatt Toys Animal Families, c.1970.
“Verkehrsmittel Einst und Jetzt” transport quartet game by Bielefelder Spielkarten Fabrik GmbH, 1958.
Asterix Adventure quartet game by ASS, 1989.
French for Fun instructive card game published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1930s
Eurotrotter by La Ducale, c.1980s.
Schwarzer Peter no.964 published by Josef Hohlweg, Vienna, early 20th century.
Counties of Britain by John Jaques & Son Ltd. c.1930.
Radio Banker by John Waddington Ltd for Marconiphone Co Ltd.
‘Tout Est Bien Qui Finit Bien’ family card game by Dondorf.
Zwarte Piet by Dondorf for the Dutch market, 1906.
Jigstar film star card game by Murphy Games Ltd, 1936.
Black Peter card game designed by Willy Mayrl for Piatnik.
Bull fighting card game publshed by Naipes Comas, 1969.
“Countries of Empire” published by John Jaques & Son Ltd, c.1930s.
Majas Alfabets Spel beautifully illustrated by Lena Andersson, 1980s.