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November 19th 1939
The Baltimore Sun
(Copyright © Reprinted with permission from the Baltimore Sun)
Claimant To Title Of Father Of Ouija Board Craze Dies
Isaac Fuld Retired 2 Years Ago From Business That Sent Fad Roaring Across Country
A man who claimed to have had the idea that started one of the strangest fads on record roaring across the country, into foreign lands and, as some were want to believe, into nether regions, died last night. He was Isaac Fuld.
Claims he started craze
He was the father, he claimed, of the great Ouija board craze.
Mr Fuld who was 74 and retired from business two years ago, died suddenly. He had been stricken with pneumonia at the home of his son, Stuart Fuld, on Thursday.
According to members of Mr. Fuld’s family, he and his brother, William A. Fuld, were entertaining themselves with Ouija as far back as 1892, but it wasn't until nearly 30 years later that so-called “Ouija Craze” swept the country and Ouija went into mass production.
Figures are not at hand to indicate just how many boards — improved and streamlined from time to time — were shipped out of the Fuld’s Baltimore Factories to clamoring customers, but estimates run into the millions.
Follows Board’s Advice
Along came the early 1920’s, when Ouija was in full swing and the Fulds decided they’d have to enlarge their factory to meet demand.
Said William Fuld, on that occasion:
“The Ouija board told me to ‘prepare for big business,’ and on that advice I called in architects and builders and planned a factory of much greater capacity.
“We sell the board for the purchaser’s amusement and recreation, and do not believe that the people who buy it for that purpose are fools.”
When asked whether he continuously consulted his Ouija board, Mr Fuld simply said:
“Nope. I built this factory on Ouija’s advice, but haven’t consulted the board since then. Things have been moving along so well I didn’t want to start anything.”
But just about that time the Federal Government decided to start something. It wanted ten per cent tax on Ouija sales. It took more than a year to get Ouija up to the Supreme Court. The local Federal Court ruled Ouija a game, the United States District Court of Appeals said the Baltimore court was right. The Supreme Court refused to say what it thought about ouija and threw the case out of court.
Meanwhile, throughout the country slander suits were being filed as the results of some of Ouija’s answers, secret marriages supposedly were being revealed, and psychiatrists were calling the “believers” in ouija “loony.”
Derivation Of Name
It was during the various trials that the derivation of the mystic name was revealed — noting else except a combination of the French oui and the German ja, in short in English, Yes-Yes.
Funeral Services for Mr. Fuld, who lived at 2002 Homewood avenue, will be held at 2 P. M. Tuesday.
He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Gruner Fuld; Stuart, and another son Edwin, and four daughters, Mrs. Edith Noon, Mrs Grace Beck, Mrs. Florence Hoffman and Mrs. Helen Velte.