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Etch A Sketch inventor dies aged 86

Published: 10:55AM Monday February 04, 2013 Source: ONE News

  • An Etch A Sketch toy. (Source: Getty Images)
    An Etch A Sketch toy. - Source: Getty Images

The former electrical technician who invented the classic toy Etch A Sketch has died, aged 86.

Frenchman Andre Cassanges passed away in Paris on January 16, Ohio Art Company, the US manufacturer which made the toy, said. His cause of death has not yet been disclosed.

The company has been making the hugely popular mechanical drawing toy since 1960.

The iconic Etch A Sketch, with its grey screen and bold red frame, was developed by Cassagnes in the 1950s. It allowed users to draw a picture using two white dials, and erase it by shaking the device.

"Etch A Sketch has brought much success to the Ohio Art Company, and we will be eternally grateful to André for that," said Larry Killgallon, the president of Ohio Art Company.

"His invention brought joy to so many over such a long period of time."

Cassagnes developed the idea for the Etch A Sketch in the late 1950s after noticing, while working with metal powders, that marks in a coating of aluminium powder could be seen from the other side of a translucent plate.

The toy was unveiled at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1959, where it was spotted by Ohio Art who launched it a year later. It became the top selling toy in the US that year.

More than 100 million Etch A Sketch toys have been sold around the world since its creation.

It has endured the test of time, despite the popularity of more high-tech creations in recent years. A resurgence in "retro" toys and its appearance in Disney Pixar's Toy Story movies being credited with keeping sales going .

It was inducted into the US National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998, and the American Toy Industry Association named it as one of the 100 most memorable and creative toys of the 20th century.