Mark Twain’s Memory Builder Game

Dave Thomson:

On August 18, 1885 Mark Twain patented his Memory-Builder, a game board aimed at developing memory for dates and facts. The game board measured approximately 9 x 13 1/2 inches and about 1/4 of an inch thick. The game and instructions (see below), which were written by Twain, were glued on the top front and back of the game board. The game came supplied with a package of straight pins of different colors. Several models were test marketed in 1891 but failed to capture the public’s fancy, possibly because Twain’s instructions were too complicated. According to one critic, “The game looked like a cross between an income tax form and a table of logarithms (Meltzer, p. 193).”