Made in WA

11 Games, Toys, and Tools Invented in Washington

Our pastimes.

Edited by Benjamin Cassidy By Seattle Met Staff August 23, 2022 Published in the Fall 2022 issue of Seattle Met

Pictionary

Industry night shenanigans led Lake Union Cafe server Rob Angel to commit this charades offshoot to paper in 1985. Coworker Gary Everson and financial whiz Terry Langston designed the board and marketed what became the bestselling board game since Trivial Pursuit. 

Bauer Shuttlecock

Seattleites knew Eddie Bauer for his expertly stringed tennis rackets, and he took just as naturally to badminton gear: Cork-and-feather birdies from Bauer’s Shuttles set the standard in 1934 and remain regulation today.

Pickleball

The fastest-growing sport in America was invented in a Republican congressman’s backyard on Bainbridge Island in 1965. Our state sport cherry-picks its rules and equipment from badminton, tennis, ping-pong, and squash. 

Cranium

Born from mixed results in Pictionary and Scrabble, this brain buster marries wordplay with creativity and performance. A pair of Microsoft alums, Whit Alexander and Richard Tait, decided to create it instead of a dotcom toward the end of the ’90s. Smart move.

Magic: The Gathering

In the early ’90s, a mathematician in a Seattle parking lot pitched an alternate card universe that ushered in a tabletop game takeover. Mathematician Richard Garfield’s meeting with Wizards of the Coast founder Peter Adkison would soon net the Renton company $100 million in annual sales.

Elmer’s Glue

We hope Elmer Pearson was feeling generous. After emigrating from Sweden to Seattle, the Borden worker developed the chemical formula for what would become a ubiquitous adhesive. But his employer acquired the rights.

Pinking Shears

Whatcom County’s Louise Austin brought better hemlines to the masses in 1893 with her scalloped-blade scissors, making the arduous process of chiseling out a fray-resistant zig-zag edge as simple and precise as cutting a straight line.

Chuckit!

Mariel Head and Mark Oblack didn’t have to break their backs in Kent to develop this familiar scooper, which allows dog owners to retrieve and fling tennis balls with minimal bending and slobber.

Dog Toothbrush

A Magnolia dog show judge had seen enough. Too many very good boys were losing blue ribbons because they didn’t have clean chompers. So in 1961, Bird A. Eyer patented a tooth-scrubber fit for canines.

Slinky Dog and Snap-Lock Beads

Helen Malsen didn’t play around.

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