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RIP Etch A Sketch Inventor Andre Cassagnes: Reflections, Video

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Gina Smith
Written by Gina Smith

The inventor of the Etch A Sketch is dead at 86. Find out more about Andres Cassagnes, a wikispace contest you can play based on this timeless toy and more videos and article links as we add them. RIP: Andres Cassagnes, dead at 86. He left us a legacy. — André Cassagnes, the electrical engineer who came up with the idea for the toy that inspired generations of graphic designers — the Etch A Sketch — has died. He was 86.

Cassagnes passed in Paris earlier this month, according to a statement from the Ohio Art Company released today. In the statement to the UK Guardian, Larry Killington, Ohio Art’s president, said:

Etch A Sketch has brought much success to the Ohio Art Company, and we will be eternally grateful to André for that. His invention brought joy to so many over such a long period of time.

Cassagnes came up with Etch A Sketch in the late 1950s. That’s when, after he peeled a translucent layer from a light switch plate, he noticed pencil images had gone through to the opposing face of it.

Etch A Sketch debuted at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1959. Ohio Art reps say they saw it there and launched it soon after, quoting about 100 million sales since its 1960 release.

Graphic artists for generations have pointed to the original gray and red Etch A Sketch — with its knobs and shake-to-erase UI — as their inspirations for work later.

Cassagnes’ Etch A Sketch in 1998 made it into the US National Toy Hall of Fame.

Remember your Etch A Sketch? Let us know what you thought of it. And RIP Andre Cassagnes, a great inventor of a toy that was far more than just a toy. And check out this Internet contest inspired by the Etch a Sketch.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This image appears also on the site for the WikiSpaces Etch A Sketch online contest. Find out more here.

The Google+community we draw wisdom from at sent forth an outpouring of opinion — and perspective — at the news of Cassagnes’ passing and the Etch A Sketch in particular.

In the Etch A Sketch, “never was there a more ready source of fifty percent of the ingredients for Thermite,” quipped +Eric Hansen,  a student at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

Several readers pointed us to this video — a YouTube rendition of a world-class Etch-a-Sketch video artist and his work. He’s Carmelo Anthony.

Source: Etched in Time

About the author

Gina Smith

Gina Smith

Based in San Francisco, Gina Smith is a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning journalist online, in print, radio and national TV. A former tech correspondent for ABC News, Gina founded aNewDomain with John C. Dvorak and Dr. Jerry Pournelle. Email Gina at and follow her @ginasmith888 and on Google+ through her page at +Gina Smith.