The result was Lexiko, which used letter tiles and was played without a board. But a patent application was declined and approaches to major games manufacturers were refused.
However, Butts persevered and produced 200 games over the next five years, which he sold or gave to friends.
There was a breakthrough in 1938, when Butts added a board and renamed it Criss-Crosswords. Manufacturer James Brunot subsequently agreed to produce the game, renamed Scrabble, but it was 1948 before a copyright application was accepted.
The game quickly took off in America and Australia before arriving in the UK in 1953.
Scrabble - owned by JW Spear and Sons Ltd in the UK, a subsidiary of Mattel - has now sold around 150 million sets worldwide, in 33 languages.
Butts died in 1993.