Etch A Sketch Creator Dies

Etch A SketchPARIS - André Cassagnes, creator of the Etch A Sketch, died at the age of 86, according to a report by the Toy Indsutry Association (TIA). Cassagnes passed away on January 16, 2013 in a suburb of Paris, France.

An electrical technician and inventor of the Etch A Sketch, Cassagnes was born just outside of Paris on September 23, 1926. He worked at his parent's bakery during his teen years before becoming an electrician at Lincrusta Co., a French manufacturer of artificial seat and picture frame coverings that utilized aluminum powder in the production process. After installing a factory light switch plate at work that was covered with a translucent decal, Cassanges peeled the decal from the light switch plate and made some pencil marks on the decal face and noticed that the image transferred to the opposite face. This was the beginning of Etch a Sketch, which he first named L'Ecran Magique, or "the Magic Screen,"

The glass and aluminum powder plaything was first introduced at the Nurmeberg Toy Fair in 1959; Ohio Art furthered developed the toy with Cassanges and manufactured it under the name "Etch A Sketch," and officially launched it to markert during the holiday season of 1960.

In addition to his "magic screen," Cassagnes was also a renowned modular kite designer, becoming the most famous competitive kite-maker in France during the 1980s, according to the TIA. His other inventions included Teleguide, a system to guide metal cars on a track, mechanical games, and SkeDoodle, a globe screen drawing toy concept.

"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," said Larry Killgallon, president, Ohio Art Company, in a statement.

The famous toy recently marked its 50th anniversary and evern released special red and blue versions during last year's presidential election.

Cassanges is survived by his wife, Renée and their three children, Sophie, Patrick and Jean Claude.

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