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Ouija

Object Name: Game
Date: ca. 1920
Related People:
Medium: Wood
Dimensions: Part (Board): 12 x 18 in. (30.5 x 45.7 cm) Part (planchette): 3/4 x 4 5/8 x 5 1/2 in. (1.9 x 11.7 x 14 cm)
Place made: Baltimore
Description: Rectangular wooden board wtih alphabet, numbers, yes/no, and goodbye printed on obverse; directions and manufacturer's information printed on reverse. Heart-shaped planchette or "table" printed "Rajah points the way / look through here for an answer" with arrow pointing to cut-out.
Credit Line: Gift of Arlene Harderode
Object Number: 2012.14ab
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This Ouija Board, used by the donor's mother, was made around 1920 by William Fuld of Baltimore. First patented in 1891 by Elijah Bond and Charles Kennard, the talking board uses a planchette (small heart-shaped piece of wood) to indicate a spirit's message by spelling it out on the board during a séance. Participants place their fingers on the planchette, which moves about the board to spell out words. William Fuld took over production of the talking board in 1901 and coined the name "Ouija," a combination of the French and German words for "yes." The heyday of Ouija Boards was the 1920s through the 1960s; in 1966 Fuld's estate sold the business to Parker Brothers.