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William Fuld
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Entrepreneur
    (July 24, 1870-February 24, 1927)
    Born in Baltimore, Maryland
    Employee and stockholder of the Kennard Novelty Company
    Kennard became the Ouija Novelty Company (1892)
    Formed a company with his brother Isaac and licensed the right to manufacture Ouija boards (1898)
    Held 33 patents and trademarks
    Elected to the Maryland State Assembly (1924)
    Died of injuries suffered in a fall from the roof of his three-story high factory when the railing he was leaning against gave way
    He liked to imply that he had invented the Ouija board, but the patent for it had been taken out by another Kennard employee, Elijah Bond.
    He signed an exclusive deal with the Ouija Novelty Company (1901), cutting out Isaac, triggering a feud that lasted the rest of the brothers’ lives.
    He sued Isaac for marketing an almost identical talking board under the name Oriole.
    He claimed to have built his three-story factory after getting a message from a Ouija board telling him ‘prepare for big business.’
    On his death bed, he made his children promise not to sell the rights to the Ouija board.
    Due to declining health, his son Hubert sold the rights to the Ouija board to Parker Brothers, with the deal becoming final on the 39th anniversary of Fuld’s death (February 24, 1966).
    He became a millionaire from sales of the Ouija board.
    Realizing how easy the Ouija board was to copy, he marketed his own cheap knock-off, the Mystifying Oracle.
    In addition to Ouija boards, he sold pool tables and billiard accessories.
    There is no evidence that he seriously thought anyone could contact spirits through the Ouija board.
    For that matter, the Ouija board was marketed as a parlor game with no occult trappings until World War I when spiritualists began promoting it as a way to contact the dead.
    The ‘prepare for big business’ tale appears to have just been a public relations story.

Credit: C. Fishel


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