The Great Game of Cootie

cootieDid you know the Game of Cootie was invented in Robbinsdale? In the early 1940’s, W.H. “Herb” Schaper, a postal worker and avid fisherman whittled a bug-like fishing lure that he thought might make a fun toy. The idea led him to invention the Cootie game. First introduced in 1949, Schaper made the earliest editions on his mother’s porch in Robbinsdale. In 1950 Schaper offered Dayton’s department tore, several Cootie sets on consignment. The game sold over 5,592 by the end of the year. In 1952 Schaper’s company sold 1.2 million Cootie games and thereafter, a million games a year. By the mid-1960s, Schaper’s company was selling more than twenty-five different games.



  1. Not sure that’s true. The Cootie Game was invented around 1920 and had to do with the lice World War I soldiers were picking off their bodies in the trenches. The game was patented and sold by Irvin-Smith Company in Chicago. Schaper’s version would have been a spin-off.

    1. You are correct. Herb didn’t invent the word or the idea of the Cootie. There were other games, pencil and paper puzzles and toys. Those games were boring. Who remembers them? Herb’s clever put’em together bugs have entertained generations. He invented the game we all know and love. He invented the only Cootie that counts.

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