Reuben Klamer

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Reuben Klamer (born 1922[1] in Canton, Ohio) is an inventor best known for creating and designing the classic Milton Bradley (now Hasbro) board game The Game of Life.[2]

Early life[edit]

Klamer studied ancient and modern history at George Washington University and earned a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Ohio State University. He completed postgraduate work in engineering at the University of Michigan.[2]

He enlisted in the U.S. Navy midshipman school at Northwestern University in 1943 and served in the South Pacific.[citation needed]

He started his own advertising agency before joining Ideal Toy Company. He later became an executive with Eldon Industries.[citation needed]


Klamer created the Art Linkletter Spin-A-Hoop (to compete with the Wham-O hula hoop), Gaylord the Walking Dog, and Busy Blocks. He also created the Fisher-Price Preschool Trainer Skates.[3]


Klamer was approached by the producers of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. to design a special weapon for the show's secret agents.[4] He produced a toy version for Ideal.

Impressed with Klamer's work, and under pressure from network executives to make his show more "action packed," Star Trek producer Gene Roddenberry enlisted Klamer to design "a really big gun." He built the phaser rifle used in the episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before."[citation needed]

The Game of Life[edit]

In June 1959, Klamer pitched an art center[clarification needed] concept to Milton Bradley, but they declined. Milton Bradley president James Shea, Sr. asked Klamer to develop a game in celebration of the hundredth anniversary of Milton Bradley Company.[2] After months of development, Klamer unveiled The Game of Life at the 1960 American International Toy Fair in the Milton Bradley showroom. Spurred by the endorsement of Art Linkletter, the game went on to sell more than fifty million copies.[2]


Klamer was inducted into the Hasbro's Inventors Hall of Fame in 2000[2][failed verification] and the Toy Industry Hall of Fame in 2005.[5] He received the TAGIE Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.[2][failed verification]


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

External links[edit]