Mathamatics of Bingo –

Several months after Bingo hit the market, Lowe was
approached by a priest from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The priest had a
problem in his parish. A fast thinking parishioner had come up with the idea of
using Bingo as a way to get the church out of its financial troubles. The
priest had put the scheme into operation after having bought several sets of
Lowe’s $2.00 Bingo game. However, problems developed immediately when it was
found that each game produced half a dozen or more winners. Lowe could immediately
see the tremendous fund raising possibilities of Bingo, but at the same time,
he realized that to make the game workable on this large of a scale, a great
many more combinations of numbers would have to be developed for the cards. To
accomplish this, Lowe sought the services of an elderly professor of
mathematics at Columbia University, one Carl Leffler. Lowe’s request was the
professor devise 6,000 new Bingo cards with non repeating number groups. The
professor agreed to a fee that remunerated him on a per card basis. As the
professor worked on, each card became increasingly difficult. Lowe was
impatient, and toward the end the price per card had risen to $100. Eventually,
the task was completed. The E.S. Lowe Company had its 6,000 cards – at the expense
of the professor’s sanity! The church of Wilkes-Barre was saved and after it, a
Knights of Columbus Hall in Utica, New York. Word spread fast – “I used to get
thousands of letters asking for help on setting up Bingo games,“ said Lowe – so
many that he published Bingo’s first Instructional Manual. This effort was
followed by a monthly news letter called The Blotter (absorbs all Bingo news)
which was distributed to 37,000 subscribers. By 1934 there were an estimated
10,000 Bingo games a week, and Ed Lowe’s firm had a thousand employees
frantically trying to keep up with demand – nine entire floors of the New York
office space, and 64 presses printing 24 hours a day – “… we used more
newsprint than the New York Times!” According to Lowe, the largest Bingo game
in history was played in New York’s Teaneck Armory – 60,000 players, with
another 10,000 being turned away at the door. Ten automobiles were given away.
Bingo was off to a fast start, and at the same time, had reserved itself next
to baseball and apple pie – thanks to Ed Lowe and the loss of Professor
Leffler’s sanity.