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Etch A Sketch Inventor Dies @ 86

04 02 13 - 19:12

Andre Cassagnes is not really a household name in the USA, but 100 million people around the globe know his famous little sketching machine.

When Cassagnes was working as an electrical tech in the late 50's, he got the idea for a toy that makes erasable drawings when he noticed that marks in a coating of aluminium powder could be seen from the other side of a translucent plate. He perfected the mechanics of his toy by adding two simple dials to control the cables that moved the pointer under the glass.

You can see just how badly the aluminum powder sticks to everything inside the toy & how the complex cable system works to move the cursor. The aluminum beads help keep the powdered aluminum flowing smoothly when you turn the device upside down & shake it to erase the screen.

The Ohio Art Company spotted the invention at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1959, and the next year it became the top-selling toy in the United States. This toy was manufactured in Bryon, OH until the stinkin', bean counters moved production to China in 2001.

Andre Cassagnes lived most of his life in his native France, designing competition kites in his later years.
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