Reuben Klamer

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Reuben Klamer (born in Canton, Ohio) is an inventor of the classic Milton Bradley (currently owned by Hasbro) board game The Game Of Life. He has invented more than 200 products which include toys, games, textiles, plastics, aviation, publishing, music, and film.[1]

Early life[edit]

Klamer studied ancient and modern history at George Washington University and earned an additional Bachelor of Science marketing degree from Ohio State University, then did postgraduate work in engineering at the University of Michigan.[1]

During World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Midshipman School at Northwestern University in 1943, and served in the South Pacific.

He started his own advertising agency then worked for Ideal Toy Company later becoming an executive in Eldon Industries.


Klamer created the Art Linkletter Spin-A-Hoop to compete with Wham-O’s hula hoop as well as "Gaylord the Walking Dog", "Busy Blocks" and Fisher-Price.[2]


Klamer was approached by the producers of the NBC TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. television series to design a special weapon for the show's secret agents.[3] Klamer produced a toy version for Ideal where the weapon “converts into rifle with: stock, silencer, telescopic sight, bipod,” according to the box.

Inspired by the weapon, Star Trek producer Gene Rodenberry approached Klamer about designing "a really big gun" when network executives demanded his show be more "action packed". He built the phaser rifle used in the Where No Man Has Gone Before episode of Star Trek[4]

The Game of Life[edit]

Klamer did not approach Milton Bradley with intent of selling them his idea of a board game. In June 1959, Klamer tried to sell Milton Bradley an art center concept but it was turned down. The president of Milton Bradley, James Shea, Sr. asked Klamer to develop a game in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Milton Bradley Company and he immediately accepted.[1]

After months of development, Klamer created The Game of Life, which later became a family classic board game. Klamer revealed his game for the first time in 1960 at the American International Toy Fair in Milton Bradley's showroom. The Game of Life sold more than 50 million copies.[1]

Klamer had a popular television host for Art Linkletter endorse his game which helped add to its success.


He was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame in 2005.[5]

Klamer received the TAGIE Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 and in 2000 was inducted into the Hasbro's Inventor's Hall of Fame.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Erik, Arneson. "Interview with Reuben Klamer - Creator of the Game of Life". Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  2. ^ Wartenburg, Steve Inventor of games and gizmos returns to OSU to inspire future entrepreneurs The Columbus Dispatch
  3. ^ pp. 14-20 Polizzi, R., Schaefer, F. & Stevenson, W. Those Crazy Toys from U.N.C.L.E. Spin Again (1992, Summer)
  4. ^ Nye, James Set Phaser Rifle Auction to Stun Daily Mail Online, 7 April 2013
  5. ^ "Hall of Fame Inductees". Toy Industry Association. Retrieved 18 December 2015.

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