Etch A Sketch is a mechanical drawing toy manufactured by the Ohio Art Company.
An Etch A Sketch has a thick,
flat gray screen in a plastic, distinctive red frame.
There are two knobs on the front of
the frame in the lower corners.
Twisting the knobs moves a stylus
that displaces aluminium powder
on the back of the screen, leaving a solid line.
The knobs create lineographic images.
The left control moves the stylus horizontally,
and the right one moves it vertically.
The Etch A Sketch was introduced near the peak of the Baby Boom in 1960, and is one of the best known toys of that generation. It was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, New York in 1998. In 2003, the Toy Industry Association named Etch A Sketch to its Century of Toys List, a roll call commemorating the 100 most memorable and most creative toys of the 20th century. In the past, some have called it a "sandbox" even though it contains aluminium.
Etch A Sketch with inside shown
The toy can be considered a simplified version of a plotter. The inside surface of the glass screen is coated with aluminium powder which is then scraped off by a movable stylus, leaving a dark line on the light gray screen. The stylus is controlled by the two large knobs, one of which moves it vertically and the other horizontally; turning both knobs simultaneously creates diagonal lines. To erase the picture, the artist turns the toy upside down and shakes it. Doing this causes polystyrene beads to smooth out and re-coat the inside surface of the screen with aluminium powder.
The "black" line merely exposes the darkness inside the toy. Filling in large "black" areas will allow enough light through to expose parts of the interior (see picture).
The Etch A Sketch toy was invented in the late 1950s by André Cassagnes, in his basement. He called it "L'Ecran Magique", the magic screen. In 1959, he took his drawing toy to the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany. The Ohio Art Company saw it but had no interest in the toy. When Ohio Art saw the toy a second time, they decided to take a chance on the product. The L'Ecran Magique was soon renamed the Etch A Sketch and became the most popular drawing toy in the business. After a complex series of negotiations, The Ohio Art Company launched the toy in the United States in time for the 1960 holiday season with the name "Etch A Sketch". Ohio Art supported the toy with a televised advertising campaign. Etch a Sketch was manufactured in Bryan, Ohio until the company moved the manufacturing plant to Shenzhen, China in 2001.
© 2012 3D Divine Deadbeat Dad ( - 4/10/12