Flinch: The Classic Card Game that was Created in Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo may be better known for the Gibson guitar and the Checker cab, but this card game, invented in 1902 by a Kalamazoo bookkeeper was a million-seller.
A. J. Patterson was a bookkeeper at the Beecher & Kymer stationery store. Kalamazoo Public Library has the story of how he invented the game Flinch:
Patterson was an avid card player, and in 1901, while playing cards in his Vine Street home, he came up with the idea for a new game that would be played with a special deck that he would produce and sell. He called the game “Flinch” and ran the Flinch Card Company out of the offices of Beecher, Kymer, & Patterson at 122 South Burdick.
Flinch is played with a deck of 150 cards, numbered one through fifteen. Each player is dealt 10 cards face down, and a hand of 5 additional cards. A "1" is needed to start a pile in the center of the table, and cards are played sequentially until the stack reaches 15. The object of the game is for players to get rid of all their cards, from the pile in front of them and their hand. The game became a national sensation, and "in 1903 nearly 1 million Flinch games were sold, and by the time Patterson sold the rights to Parker Brothers in 1936, over seven and a half million had been sold."