Andre Cassagnes, inventor of popular Etch A Sketch toy, dies at 86
BY AP Wire Service
Sunday, February 03, 2013
2/03/13 at 5:15 AM
BRYAN, Ohio (AP) - Andre Cassagnes, the inventor of the Etch A Sketch toy that generations of children drew on, shook up and started over, has died in France, the toy's maker said.
Cassagnes died Jan. 16 in a Paris suburb at age 86, said the Ohio Art Co., based in Bryan in northwest Ohio.
"Etch A Sketch has brought much success to the Ohio Art Company, and we will be eternally grateful to Andre for that. His invention brought joy to so many over such a long period of time," said Larry Killgallon, president of Ohio Art.
Cassagnes, an electrical technician, came upon the Etch A Sketch idea in the late 1950s when he peeled a translucent decal from a light-switch plate and found pencil-mark images transferred to the opposite face.
Ohio Art saw his idea at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1959. The toy, with its gray screen, red frame and two white knobs that are twisted back and forth to create drawings, was launched in 1960 and became the top seller. More than 100 million have been sold worldwide since.
The toy, which has a steady market, got a big jump in sales after it was featured in the first two "Toy Story" movies, and during last year's presidential election Ohio Art capitalized on a much-publicized gaffe by a Mitt Romney aide, who likened the campaign to an Etch A Sketch: "You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again."
The remark was seized upon as evidence that Romney was willing to change his positions for political gain. And Ohio Art seized on the publicity, creating a politically themed ad campaign and manufacturing blue versions of the famously red toy.
Original Print Headline: Etch A Sketch inventor dies