Edwin S. Lowe
Edwin S. Lowe (E. S. Lowe) (1911 – February 23, 1986) was a U.S. toymaker and game entrepreneur whose promotion of a game he renamed "Bingo" made it popular as a national pastime and fundraising activity for churches and schools. E. S. Lowe Company produced bingo games and materials in addition to plastic toys and the still-popular dice game Yahtzee.
Lowe was born in Poland and studied in Palestine before relocating to the United States at the age of eighteen.
While working as a traveling toy salesman in December 1929, Lowe encountered a group at a Georgia carnival engaged in a game called Beano. Returning to his Brooklyn, NY, home, he organized a game with several friends, one of whom became so excited at winning, she shouted "Bingo!" The popularity of the game among his acquaintances prompted Lowe to print game cards, which he later sold under the name Bingo.
He established the E. S. Lowe Company for the production of his Bingo game cards, which initially were released as 24-card sets. The company later increased the number of variations to more than 6,000 card combinations, adding to the game’s popularity.
E. S. Lowe produced miniature chess and checker game sets that circulated widely among U.S. service personnel in World War II. The company continued to produce games and plastic toys after the war, including a boxed toy casino set called Monte Carlowe. In 1956, he bought rights from a Canadian couple who approached him with a concept of a game that they played on their yacht. Lowe highlighted its origins in naming the game – Yahtzee.
In 1959, Lowe produced the Renaissance Chess Set which featured highly detailed chess pieces based on the Renaissance period. The impressive design of these chessmen is still highly regarded today and the chess set is a popular collectors item.
Milton Bradley purchased E. S. Lowe Company in 1973 for $26 million.
He maintained a home at Quogue, Long Island, New York, but died at his Manhattan residence on February 23, 1986 at the age of 75.
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