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Etch A Sketch inventor André Cassagnes dead at 86

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Etch A Sketch
Etch A Sketch

The inventor of the iconic children's toy Etch A Sketch has died at age 86. According to the Toy Industry Association, André Cassagnes died in his home outside a suburb of Paris on January 16th. Born on September 23rd, 1926, Cassagnes came upon the idea for the drawing device in the 1950s. The company he worked for utilized aluminum powder in its production process. Cassagnes removed a translucent decal from the face of a light switch plate he was installing, and made several marks on the decal — only to discover they were visible from the other side. The Etch A Sketch works in a similar fashion; aluminum powder inside the device coats the translucent face, while users control a stylus that scrapes the powder away, creating the lines that the users sees.

The US-based Ohio Art Company spotted Cassagnes' invention in 1959 at the Nuremberg Toy Fair and picked it up. According to the Toy Industry Association, the Etch A Sketch went on to become the top-selling toy in the US in December of 1960. It has gone on to become a modern classic, and has been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong.

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