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Ephraim Hertzano - Famous Inventor

: Ephraim Hertzano
: Romania
: Self Educated
: Game Designer

About Inventor

Ephraim Hertzano was a board game designer born in Romania.He immigrated to Israel, where he founded the games company Hertzano.Hertzano's most famous game creation is Rummikub.

Early Life

Hertzano is a Jewish Israeli. He originally made his living selling toothbrushes and other plastic accessories as well as cosmetics. He started developing the tile game Rummikub in the 1940s, in Romania, when card-playing was outlawed under the Communist regime. Hertzano moved to Israel in the 1940s after World War II,continuing the development on Rummikub in the backyard of his house in Bat Yam, and eventually became a professional game developer after publishing it to the markets. 

Invention History

Ephraim Hertzano invented Rummikub in the early 1930’s and hand-made the first sets with his family in the backyard of his home in Israel. He designed the game to combine elements of rummy, dominoes, mah-jongg, and chess. Hertzano’s family sold the first sets door-to-door and on a consignment basis at small local shops. The game soon took off, and the family began licensing it to other countries over the years. As a result, it became Israel’s #1 export game. Rummikub made it to American shores in 1964 thanks to the efforts of Pressman Toys. In 1977, it became the best-selling game in the U.S.

Today, Rummikub is licensed internationally by Lemada Light Industries, a company formed in Israel by Hertzano’s children. They have turned the game into a powerhouse phenomenon that is sold in 48 countries and has been translated into 24 languages. Through their efforts, it has become the third best selling game in the world. As a result of this popularity, Rummikub clubs have been formed all over the world, and a World Rummikub Championship has been held every year since 1991. The enduring popularity that Rummikub enjoys is proof that this game has an appeal that is truly universal.

Awards Received by Inventor

Spiel des Jahres

Game of the Year 1980 for Rummikub

Spel van het Jaar

Game of the Year 1983 for Rummikub