Parker, George S.
- James Ross Moore
Parker, George S. (12 December 1866–26 September 1952), inventor and businessman, was born George Swinnerton Parker in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of George Augustus Parker, a master mariner, businessman, and auctioneer, and Sara Hegeman Parker. Educated locally, Parker had intended to become a journalist, but at age fifteen he invented a game he called Banking for an informal club of fellow game-playing enthusiasts. This game, in which players borrowed their stakes from the Bank, rewarded the best—and luckiest—speculator, since 160 cards determined their “luck,” while bankruptcy lay in wait. At the suggestion of his older brother Charles, Parker spent $40 having 500 sets made, and by the end of 1883 he had cleared a profit of $140. The George S. Parker Company became Parker Brothers in 1882 when Charles joined. The eldest brother, Edward, joined in 1892 and, with George Parker as president, Parker Brothers purchased a Salem game-making enterprise and leased a factory. Parker Brothers, later America's premier games maker, was soon publishing twenty-nine games....