Electric Mystifying Oracle

The original patent for an Ouija board was lodged by Elijah Bond but quickly captured by William Fuld, who went on to become known as the "Father of the Ouija Board."

(Bond went on to patent the Nirvana board, which he manufactured briefly from the Swastika Novelty Company in 1907. This was one of a very large number of attempted alternates to the Ouija, including The Sphinx Speaks, the Mecca Answer Board and the Charmed Planchette.)

William Fuld held 21 separate patents and trademark registrations in three countries in relation to talking board machines, and the Fuld family company came to dominate the business, despite an acrimonious family feud between William and his brother Isaac.

By the early 1920s, as Ouija boards became a popular novelty, Fuld trademarked both the term and its correct pronunciation, introducing two new products: Ouija jewellery, and Ouija oil to assist in rheumatism treatment.

Fuld trademarked the term "Oracle" in 1902, and the patent for the Oracle board was filed in 1915:

“My invention relates to an improvement to talking boards, and particularly the class of boards known as the ouija boards, and the object of the invention is to produce a game in which two or more persons can amuse themselves by asking questions of any kind and having them answered by the device used and operated by the touch of the hand, so that the answers are designated by letters on the board. A further object is the provision of the means whereby the letters, numerals, and symbols can be readily observed by the players of operators as the device is moved about the board.”

In 1930, the Fuld company patented an electrification of their popular board: the Electric Mystifying Oracle, made of pressed metal rather than wood, and including a planchette that lit up as it moved around the board.

Despite the glamorous design, the timing of the launch was poor, and the online Museum of Talking Boards notes sadly that "not many survived the Depression".