- 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).
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