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Etch-A-Sketch with DrawingEtch-A Sketch - Known to the baby-boomer generation as one of the early lap top computers, the Etch-A-Sketch is a portable drawing device (a magic red box with white plastic knobs) that enables the user to draw letters or pictures and then with one shake of the screen (while turned upside down) miraculously give the user a new blank drawing area on which to draw.

The idea for the Etch-A-Sketch came about in 1958, when Arthur Granjean, a garage mechanic from Paris, France created an automatic drawing toy called "L'Ecran Magique" (The Magic Screen).

Originally, this miracle drawing device was ignored when it debuted at the 1959 Toy Fair in Nuremburg, West Germany, but with interest shown by the Ohio Art Company from Bryan, Ohio, (who purchased the rights for $25,000 to market the "Magic Screen" in the U.S.) the Etch-A- Sketch was born.

Introduced to American stores on July 12, 1960, the Etch-A-Sketch sold for a mere $1.29. Its first TV advertisements were seen the same year enticing children to draw and draw again with their ecologically sound (no paper needed), recycling wonder machine.

The secret to the Etch-A-Sketch is quite easy to understand, however. Its interior box is filled with a mixture of aluminum powder and plastic beads that coat the reverse side of the Etch-A-Sketch screen. Once the screen is turned upside down and refreshed with a new coating, the interior drawing stylus connected to two knobs scratches away the coating to reveal lines that can be directed (up, down, left or right) into a variety of shapes (and colors when the new color model was introduced in 1993).

Since it premiere in 1960 over 100 million Etch-A Sketch's have been sold.    

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