Still Drawn to Etch A Sketch: 50 Years On

It's 50 years today since the, famous drawing toy, Etch A Sketch went on sale in America.

However, this day marks the anniversary of the name rather than the toy itself; since the dial operated screen was invented in the late 1950s by Andre Cassagnes, from France. He named the toy L'Ecran Magique, which translates to the Magic Screen.

The Ohio Art Company, which still trades today, bought the design in 1959 and launched it in 1960.

Etch A Sketch is easily recognised by its silver-grey screen, surrounded by a red frame and with two white dials situated in the bottom corners. To draw, the artist had to turn the knobs which made a black line appear on the screen. The left dial controlled horizontal movement, while the right dial controlled the vertical lines. The line you were drawing was actually continuous, so you could not leave gaps between the objects you were drawing on screen.

If there was one thing more memorable about Etch A Sketch other than drawing, it would certainly be erasing the screen. Turn it face down, gently tap the back and then shake back and forth a few times -- your creation would be gone forever.

As my recent effort above (on a vintage but poor condition model) shows, I'm far from adept with this art form. However, stunning images are possible with Etch A Sketch; as this gallery on the Telegraph website proves.

Etch A Sketch is still available to buy, with lots of different versions available. Click the following links to view Etch A Sketch on or
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