Fuld, William

Fuld, William

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

William Fuld was an American businessman who popularized the talking board in the form of the Ouija® Board. He first marketed it as a game in 1892. Fuld purchased the rights to the board from its inventor, Elijah J. Bond, who obtained the original patent in 1891. On obtaining the rights, Fuld formed The Southern Novelty Company of Baltimore, Maryland, and began producing what he called the “Oriole Talking Boards.” Later the name of the company was changed to the Baltimore Talking Board Company.

The name of the board comes from the French oui and the German ja, both meaning “yes.” During World War I, the board sold by the thousands when families wanted to contact those who had been killed in the war. Fuld made a fortune from the board though he appears to have used the board only briefly himself. He is quoted as saying, “I’m no Spiritualist! I’m a Presbyterian. I built this factory on Ouija’s® advice, but I haven’t consulted the board since. Things have been moving along so well I didn’t want to start anything.” Things moved along well for Fuld throughout his life. In 1966, the major toy and game manufacturer Parker Brothers purchased the rights to the board and moved the factory to Salem, Massachusetts.

Sources:

Covina, Gina: The Ouija® Book. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979
Hunt, Stoker: Ouija®: The Most Dangerous Game. New York: Harper & Row, 1985