Saturday, September 11, 2010


Jenga is a game of physical and mental skill created by Leslie Scott, and currently marketed by Parker Brothers, a division of Hasbro. During the game, players take turns to remove a block from a tower and balance it on top, creating a taller and increasingly unstable structure as the game progresses. The word jenga is the imperative form of kujenga, the Swahili verb "to build".

Jenga was created by Leslie Scott based on a game that evolved within her family in the early 1970s using children's wood building blocks the family purchased from a sawmill in Takoradi, Ghana. Though a British national, Scott was born in East Africa, where she was raised speaking English and Swahili, before moving to live in Ghana, West Africa. Scott manufactured and launched the game she named and trademarked as 'Jenga' at the London Toy Fair in 1983 and sold it through her own company, Leslie Scott Associates.

In 1984, Scott assigned exclusive rights in the U.S. and Canada to Robert Grebler, an entrepreneur from California who was the brother of a close friend of hers. Grebler bought Scott's remaining inventory and quickly sold out of it. Convinced of Jenga's potential, Grebler invited two first cousins, David Grebler and Paul Eveloff, to form Pokonobe Associates with him in 1985 to increase distribution of Jenga. Under the astute guidance of Leonard Messinger, a Los Angeles Intellectual Property lawyer, Pokonobe licensed Irwin Toy to sell Jenga in Canada and to be Master Licensees worldwide. Irwin Toy licensed Jenga to Schaper in the U.S. and when that company was bought by Hasbro, Jenga was launched under the Milton Bradley banner. Eventually, Hasbro became licensee in most countries around the world.

Today, according to Leslie Scott, over 50 million Jenga games, equivalent to more than 2.7 billion Jenga blocks, have been sold worldwide.

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