Welcome to Fun Fact Friday! Today, we're taking a closer look at the sole of Monopoly, the iconic boot token. The boot has been a staple of the game since the mid-1930s when game pieces, called tokens, were introduced.
The game's original version did not include tokens. Instead, players were encouraged to use small household items, like buttons, as game pieces.
Have you ever wondered why a boot was chosen as one of the original playing pieces for Monopoly? Well, it turns out that the boot token has a rich history and a deep meaning that goes beyond its practical use in the game.
Back in the 1930s, the boot was a popular symbol of the American dream. It represented the hardworking spirit and determination to succeed, highly prized values during the Great Depression. The boot token also had a practical purpose - it was chosen because it was easy to recognize and distinguish from the other pieces on the board.
Is the boot your favorite game piece? In researching his book "Monopoly, Money, and You" Phil Orbanes profiles those that choose the boot token as discriminating, generous, and easily riled. He also found they have long memories and remember when they've been crossed. Does this sound like you?
But the boot's significance goes even deeper than that. In many cultures, boots are considered a symbol of power and authority. In ancient times, the act of removing one's boots was a sign of respect and submission to a higher power. In some cultures, boots are even used as weapons, such as in the martial art of Kalaripayattu, where practitioners use flexible leather boots to strike and block opponents.
So what does all of this have to do with Monopoly? Well, the boot token represents the idea that to succeed in life, you must have a combination of hard work, determination, and a willingness to take risks. It's a reminder that success doesn't come easily - you must be willing to put in the effort and take bold steps to achieve your goals.
The act of taking bold steps doesn't even begin to describe the actions of Monopoly's so-called "creator," Charles Darrow. As it turns out, Darrow stole the game from its inventor, Lizzy Magie. If Magie had mad Kalaripayattu skills, she could have used the boot to strike back at Darrow and reclaim her rightful place in the game's history.
The year 2017 saw the official retirement of Monopoly's boot token, which was no longer a popular choice among players despite being a beloved icon of the game for decades. In fact, only one in sixteen players opted for the boot as their game piece (as discovered in Phil Orbane's research). This, coupled with the desire to introduce new symbols that better reflect the interests and experiences of modern players, ultimately led to the boot's departure from the game.
So there you have it, the story behind Monopoly's iconic boot token. Next time you play the game, take a moment to appreciate the deeper meaning behind this humble piece. Who knows, it might even inspire you to take a few bold steps of your own!