July 12: Etch-A-Sketch is Introduced

By: Marshall Brain

A classic etch-a-sketch
A classic etch-a-sketch
Photo used under the GNU Free Documentation License

If you were born in the 1960s or 70s, you remember the Etch-A-Sketch®. It was the cool, amazing, must-have drawing toy for kids. It seemed like every kid had one. Today the Etch-A-Sketch has a retro feel. You would think it would have been replaced by the PC - given a choice, would a kid rather see the scratchy black line of a etch-a-sketch or the color of a digital crayon in a paint program? There are also things like Magna Doodle® that are a lot easier for kids to use. But the Etch-A-Sketch hangs on with a surprisingly large audience. There's something about those two knobs.

Where did the Etch-A-Sketch come from? The inventor's name is Arthur Granjean, and he lived in France. Ohio Arts bought the rights to the idea and manufactured the first Etch-A-Sketch on July 12, 1960 [Source: Etch-a-Sketch].

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Like many other toys of that era (including the Superball, the Hula Hoop and the Frisbee), the Etch-A-Sketch became a phenomenon. Millions have been sold.

See what's inside an Etch-A-Sketch and learn how it works with this HSW article, or see just how amazing an Etch-A-Sketch can be in this Etch-A-Sketch pro video.

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