FAIRFAX, Vt. (AP) -- Milton Bradley Wood Products Co. has churned out 1 million Scrabble tiles a day in this small Vermont town for 20 years.

But Hasbro Inc., Milton Bradley's parent company, was closing the plant Friday. The reason is a 10-point word: business.Hasbro spokesman Mark Morris says the company began looking at the most efficient way to make each product and decided to get out of the business of producing the tiles.

The game will still be made; the tiles will still be wooden; players will still be able to call Hasbro's consumer service line when they lose a letter.

But the closing nevertheless strikes a nostalgic chord, especially for the 87 people who are losing their jobs after doing their part to put those square letters in one of every three American homes.

"Sometimes it was hard to believe that we still had to make them," says Harold Wright Jr., who worked at the factory for 8 1/2 years. "But the order just kept getting bigger every year."

Scrabble sells 1 million to 2 million copies in North America every year. Even President Clinton and the first lady play the game on vacation.

John D. Williams Jr., executive director of the National Scrabble Association, says he's heard that people in Jerusalem met during the Persian Gulf War to play Scrabble wearing gas masks.

"Scrabble tiles are one of the most recognizable icons, American icons," Williams says.

Lois Hood enjoyed being a part of it all, although she can't play Scrabble without inspecting the tiles. "It's automatic," she says. "I'll always check the tiles."

Morris says Hasbro is still considering contractors both in the United States and overseas and hasn't decided where its tiles will come from after today.

Some people in Fairfax are convinced they'll be made overseas, and they find it hard to believe that a company would close one plant before finding another.

But Morris promises Scrabble lovers one thing: "Believe me, the tiles will continue to be made out of wood."