LOT'S WIFE..Turn around..look back...see with new eyes

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Am Thinking About...A Whole Lot Of SHAKIN Goin On!

My new grandson, Mitchell, and Etch A Sketch have something in common…..A BIRTHDAY! On July 12 both were born…50 years apart!

The idea began with the desire to create a drawing toy that negated the use of pens and paper.

Andre Cassagnes, an electrician in France and now a famous designer of kites, got the idea in 1955 after noticing how an electrostatic charge held aluminum powder (which gives the Etch A Sketch its drawing surface) onto glass. It then could be shaken to release the powder from the screen.

Cassagnes was very interested in geometrical patterns, which he later used to design the complex kites. Mentally, he was into designs involving the X and Y axis. This is one of the reasons he was able to invent the Etch A Sketch.

He based the design on a television screen and sought a patent.
But lacking funds for a patent, he borrowed from an investor who sent his treasurer, Arthur Granjean, to pay the fee. Granjean's name ended up on the patent, and over the years he has been wrongly credited with inventing the Etch A Sketch, which he called L'Ecran Magique, or Magic Screen.

The investor, Paul Chaze, took the toy to European toy fairs, but it drew no interest.

However, in the spring of 1960 Ohio Art Co. executive William Casley Killgallon, bought the toy at one of the fairs in Nuremberg, Germany.

A few months later, Ohio Art paid $25,000 for the rights to the drawing toy -- which it called the Etch A Sketch – Cassagnes never got the credit he deserved, or the royalties for its invention.

Ohio Art principals H.W. Winzeler and WC Killgallon realized its potential for a generation of children raised on television: the toy was television-shaped with two prominent dials, but the big difference with it was that children held the controls.

On July 12, 1960, Ohio Art launched the toy – renamed it Etch a Sketch – and sent out a television campaign ensuring its overnight success.

The response was so incredible that the company decided to continue manufacturing them until noon Christmas Eve 1960. The Etch A Sketches were then immediately shipped to the West Coast so people in California could buy Etch A Sketch on Christmas Eve and have them for Christmas. In December, 1960, the Etch A Sketch was the top-selling toy of that holiday season, fetching $6 at retail.

The Etch A Sketch has changed very little over the years. In the 1970s, Ohio Art offered hot pink and blue frames.

But people still wanted the bright red frames that were so popular. The print on the frame has changed slightly, but the inner workings have remained exactly the same
The appearance and popularity have remained more or less unchanged since the Etch A Sketch was first created by Cassagnes.

Over 150 million of the toys have sold worldwide since it first went on sale on July 12 1960 for $2.99.” The Etch A Sketch brand is still our largest and most important product that we have, and still accounts, Killgallon added, for more than three-quarters of the company's toy revenues.”

The Etch A Sketch fast became one of the world’s most popular toys, earning it a place in the exclusive US Toy Hall of Fame, along with only 43 other classic toys. In fact, this toy – which was named one of the century’s top toys in 2008 – has seen a 20 per cent rise in worldwide sales in 2010.

Etch A Sketch has become an icon, one of a handful of play items whose popularity spans generations and has claimed a revered spot in American pop culture.

Killgallon said that Etch A Sketch's unique TV-like design has led to its being used frequently as a cultural "billboard" of sorts, keeping its image in the public eye.

Killgallon said part of Etch A Sketch's appeal is that it's a quiet toy fueled by imagination -- 2-year-olds can doodle, and adults can create art -- and it is universal. "You can speak any language ... and the child can still play with it."

The world’s largest Etch A Sketch is an enormous 8ft by 6ft and resides in the Indianapolis Museum of Childhood.

It has influenced a generation of artists.
George Vlosich III is considered the KING of ETCH ART.

Since 1989 - at the age of ten –he has been perfecting his talent on the Etch A Sketch. Each is an original work of art that takes 70-80 hours to create. Once finished, the piece is then preserved. Every creation is uniquely different, and cannot be duplicated. They are featured in galleries throughout the world and have sold for more than $10,000. George has etched many of the world's greatest athletes and celebrities.

In my opinion, there is another reason why Etch A Sketch remains popular. It represents a concrete offer of the erasure of all mistakes with the promise of a chance to start over again with no penalty. The Tabula Rasa...the blank slate.
Wouldn't it be great to just shake yourself a little, and instantly …with no mess—
start anew on a fresh screen? The creation of masterpiece. You hold the controls and can sketch out a life ….pretty empowering.

Leonardo da Vinci said "Where the spirit does not
work with the hand… there is no art”.

But, The Beatles said:

"Well, shake it up, baby, now, (shake it up, baby)
Twist and shout. (twist and shout)
Cmon cmon, cmon, cmon, baby, now, (come on baby)
Come on and work it on out. (work it on out)

Well, shake it, shake it, shake it, baby, now.

shake it, shake it, shake it........."


  1. Who doesn't love the Etch a Sketch? Great work Mom, love ya!

  2. you.are. brilliant.

  3. how is it that my kids dont' have one??? I think Santa has been remiss... that will be corrected come Christmas time! :o)