André Cassagnes, who invented the Etch-a-Sketch in the 1950s, died earlier this year. As part of the New York Times series The Lives They Lived, their annual obit roundup, Christoph Niemann did a wonderful video that tells the of the inventor, and the challenges of the machine. It is cute and worth a watch with an annoying ad at the start below or on the NY Times website here.
From the earlier Times obit:
One day in the late ’50s, as was widely reported afterward, Mr. Cassagnes was installing a light-switch plate at the factory. He peeled the translucent protective decal off the new plate, and happened to make some marks on it in pencil. He noticed that the marks became visible on the reverse side of the decal.
In making its faux finishes, the Lincrusta factory also used metallic powders; Mr. Cassagnes’s pencil had raked visible lines through particles of powder, which clung naturally to the decal by means of an electrostatic charge.
Mr. Cassagnes spent the next few years perfecting his invention, which was introduced in 1959 at the Nuremberg Toy Fair.