The Etch A Sketch goes on sale, July 12, 1960
In 1960, EDN was in its 4th year. What else was happening in 1960?:
Read all of our coverage of EDN's 60th anniversary here.
The toy was invented by French electrical technician André Cassagnes in the late 1950s. While working in a factory that made embossed wall coverings that mimic sculptural bas-relief, he peeled the translucent protective decal off a light-switch plate, and made some marks on it in pencil. He noticed that the marks became visible on the reverse side of the decal. His pencil had raked visible lines through particles of powder, which clung naturally to the decal by means of an electrostatic charge.
After making this discovery, Cassagnes spent five years working on the invention he called L’Ecran Magique, the magic screen.
The toy was introduced at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany in 1959, but drew little attention until the Ohio Art Company invested $25,000 for the license. The company renamed it the Etch A Sketch and began production and marketing in 1960. It was the must-have Christmas toy that year and now more than 100 million have been sold.
The Etch A Sketch now comes in various sizes, shapes, and colors. You can even make your mobile device into the toy with drawing apps and ideas to make your iPad work like the Etch A Sketch.
For more moments in tech history, see this blog. EDN strives to be historically accurate with these postings. Should you see an error, please notify us.
Editor's note: This article was originally posted on July 12, 2013 and edited on July 12, 2017.