We all had our favorite toys growing up and choosing the absolute best one of all time is nearly impossible, but I have to say the Etch A Sketch is right up there with the best of them. If you’re wondering who we have to thank for this brilliant invention, his name is André Cassagnes. The Frenchman was an electrician with Lincrusta Co, who first took his invention (then called L’Ecran Magique or ‘The Magic Screen’ – to the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany in 1959. The Ohio Art Company, who would eventually manufacture and distribute it as the Etch a Sketch, initially passed on the toy but later changed their minds and the rest is history.
The toy was introduced to the mass market in 1960 and sold for $2.99. Previously manufactured in Bryan, Ohio, the Etch a Sketch has been made in Shenzhen, China since 2001 by a plant run by Spin Master of Toronto, Ontario, Canada – the company which now owns the Ohio Art Company. Spin Master now own the rights to the classic toy and have redesigned it with lighter parts and a smaller screen. This new version has been renamed Classic Etch A Sketch, which ironically differentiates it from the original version that is still known simply as Etch A Sketch. Nevertheless, this distinction means the original toy has become a collector’s item, so if you have one lying around, you just might be sitting on some extra cash.
If I had one, I doubt I would want to sell mine though. I have too many memories of my poor attempts to try and master the red little board and its fiddly knobs. Drawing was never my strong suit so I could only ever muster a few squiggly lines and asymmetrical shapes. This lady, on the other hand, is a full-blown sketch master and can use this simple device to create impressive and detailed drawings.
Utah based artist Madeleine Skillings teamed up with the guys at YouTube channel What’s Inside to show viewers what makes all this drawing possible. Father-son duo Lincoln and Dan took up the challenge posed by many followers and fans who wanted to know what exactly is inside an Etch a Sketch.