The Etch A Sketch is a children’s drawing toy that has remained popular since its introduction. The basic Etch A Sketch features a gray screen and red frame with a knob on each side of the bottom of the toy. These knobs can be twisted to create lines on the screen. The left knob creates horizontal lines and the right creates vertical lines. The inside surface of the screen is coated with aluminium powder and a stylus scrapes the powder away as the knobs are turned to create the lines. This is a relatively simple device, but has been rated as one of the best toys of all time. It was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998. Today, the Etch A Sketch is owned by the Ohio Art Company. Let’s find out who invented this popular toy.
Who invented the Etch A Sketch?
French electrician André Cassagnes created the Etch A Sketch during the late 1950’s. He was installing a light switch plate when he removed the see-through covering. He wrote on it with a pencil and noticed the image was transferred to the other side. He used this discovery to create the first prototype. He called his new invention the“”L’Ecran Magique” (English: The Magic Screen) and decided to take it to the International Toy Fair in 1959. Initially there was little interest in the toy, including from the Ohio Art Company. However, when the Ohio Art Company saw the toy a second time they decided it was worth a try. They worked with Cassagnes to develop his initial prototype into the final version. They renamed the toy for the American market and the final refined product was produced in July 1960. The Etch A Sketch was launched in time for the Christmas season in 1960 and it didn’t take long before it was the most popular drawing toy on the market. It was manufactured in Ohio until 2001 when production was moved to China.
Did you know?
Despite Cassagnes already having a French name for his device, it was sold in France under the name “Télécran.”
A number of variations of the Etch A Sketch have been released over the years including digital versions and a color version.