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The History of Etch a Sketch

The Etch a Sketch got its start when a French electrical technician named André Cassagnes used his experience with the clinging properties of an electrostatic charge to create a mechanical drawing toy with no unattached parts. He named his creation L’Ecran Magique ("the magic screen") and introduced it at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany in 1959. Unfortunately, it failed to draw much attention and manufacturers passed it over, claiming that Cassagnes wanted too much money for it. However, the Ohio Art Company took a second look and invested $25,000 for a license. They renamed it “Etch a Sketch” and employed saturation advertising techniques via the television, turning it into the must-have Christmas item for 1960. The original design hasn’t changed much in the intervening years and the toy still remains popular to this day.

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