July 12 is the 55th anniversary of the first day that The Ohio Art Company’s legendary Etch-A-Sketch entered American toy stores. The Etch-A-Sketch–a timeless toy that’s a true testament to success based on pure accident. It was 1955 when 30 year-old French electrician André Cassagnes placed a luminous decal over a factory light switch plate. He drew marks on the decal with pencil and then peeled it off, discovering that the image completely transferred onto the plate. After his revelation, Cassagne decided to create a brand new drawing toy.
For years, Cassagne worked tirelessly to improve upon the toy’s mechanics and broadcast its newly patented name to manufacturing companies. The toy’s production originated in France under the name of the Telecran, and in 1960, the invention arrived in the U.S. Cassagne eventually collaborated with The Ohio Art Company to create what we now know and love: the two-knob, horizontal/vertical pulley system called the Etch-A-Sketch.
I bet all of you had your very own Etch-A-Sketch growing up, and that you feel a sense of nostalgia when reminiscing about the days you drew pictures on it. Looking back, I realize I was actually quite the Etch-A-Sketch fan. As a child, I owned both the regular size in addition to the keychain version. Whether I was sitting in the backseat on road trips with my family, waiting at the doctor’s office, or sitting on the couch and watching cartoons on TV; I would doodle away on my Etch-A-Sketch for hours upon hours.
The younger, ’90s version of myself failed at drawing anything on my Etch-A-Sketch but mountains, staircases, and square boxes. And I can assure you that that would undoubtedly remain the case for me. It’s not so easy drawing elaborate pictures on one of those devices, okay?! Unless you’re a talented artist who uses an Etch-A-Sketch to bang out your creativity, good luck drawing more complex doodles than a set of stairs or a basic New York City skyline.
Such impressive Etch-A-Sketch artists do exist, and here are some of the coolest Etch-A-Sketch drawings from artists who use the toy as their platform for endless possibilities:
The Etch-A-Sketch is still alive and kickin’ today–as illustrated by the incredible artists who put this classic toy to unbelievable use, but an industrialized replacement seizes power over it in more ways than one. I’m sure you’ve all heard of a little something called the iPad. Here’s looking at you, modern-day, flashy Etch-A-Sketch!
Let’s not forget the good times we shared with our simplistic, beloved Etch-A-Sketches. The sentimental days we spent with them throughout childhood is to be cherished always. In honor of its special anniversary today, dust off your old Etch-A-Sketch and doodle to your heart’s content–even if you’re like me and all you can draw are boxes and stick figures.
GIF Credit: Giphy
Featured Image Credit: Flickr
Image Credit (for all images): Huffington Post