In 1860 Milton Bradley moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, and established the state's first color lithography shop. Bradley's first success, The Checkered Game of Life, sold over 45,000 copies by the spring of 1861. The dawn of the Civil War prompted Bradley to begin packaging a series of pocket-sized games, including The Checkered Game of Life, designed for soldiers to carry with them and play in their spare time; Bradley had created the country's first "travel" game. The company continued to grow even after its founder's death in 1911, and in 1920 absorbed the game production of McLoughlin Brothers, formerly the biggest game manufacturer in the United States. After weathering the Great Depression, the company introduced a number of games that became favorites, including Chutes & Ladders, Candy Land, and The Game of Life, a modernized version of the game that first made Milton Bradley a success in the 1860s. In 1984 Hasbro bought out Milton Bradley, ending 124 years of family ownership, but the company earned a place among the most prolific American game manufacturers of all time.
In addition to games, Milton Bradley's founder had a keen interest in the kindergarten movement, pioneered by German scholar Friedrich Froebel, who believed that children learn through play. Milton Bradley consequently produced a number of toys and school supplies that followed emerging educational trends, and by the turn of the 19th century, the company's educational products accounted for a large portion of its income.