Lexicon is the oldest toy I have presented so far… the game dates from 1933! (but was copyrighted in 1935). My father found it in a flea market, but it is in great shape, almost no use.
Lexicon was the forerunner to Scrabble and is one of the best-selling word-building games in the world. Unlike Scrabble, this deck of cards can be used to play many different games. The booklet included with this version has the rules for 23 games, although, to my knowledge, there were at least two booklets made, the second one with new games. All games are word building based, but it is still amazing that they got up to realize so many games.
The game consists of a series of 52 cards printed with letters and score points, just like Scrabble tiles, the rulebook and a couple of promotional cards. These all are kept in a very nice book shaped case.
John Waddington and Wilson Barratt were publishers that founded the company with the name “Waddingtons Ltd.” in the 19th century. The company was based in Leeds and originally produced cards, boardgames, designed stamps and currency, and also different types of carton packages. The name was changed through the first years, until they arrived to “Waddingtons”. The first games date from 1922, after card games became popular by the end of the 1910s.
Waddingtons produced “normal” card decks (poker), but also its own original games (for example this “Lexikon”), and also licensed games from other publishers, most notably, Monopoly or Cluedo (both from Parker).
The company was bought by Hasbro in 1994. Waddington's No.1 Playing Cards can still be found in Britain, but today they are marketed by Winning Moves, who bought the brand from Hasbro, together with Lexicon.
These are some pages of the rulebook, including cover, first page, foreword and last page (64):
FACTS AND FIGURES
- Name: WADDINGTON’S LEXIKON CARD GAME
- Year: 1933
- Company: Waddington’s (Great Britain)