“World’s First Laptop”: Do You Remember it?

Screen shot 2013-02-04 at 7.07.38 PMCalling all “Readers of a certain age”!

Do you remember the Etch A Sketch? It has been referred to as the “world’s first laptop” and I certainly remember mine.

Bright red, with two dials. Turn them each or turn them together and draw lines across the screen. Turn them in the perfect combination and you get a diagonal. Hours of fun. Technology of the 60’s!

The Etch A Sketch was so popular it has been named among the most popular toys of the 20th century, and I’m not surprised. I’m guessing that at some point, every child of the 60’s crossed paths with an Etch A Sketch.

Sadly, the inventor of this wildly successful toy died last month in a suburb of Paris. Andre Cassagnes was a French electrician who invented the toy after noticing how pencil marks transferred to a decal he pulled from a switch plate.

As often happens with inventions, it seems, the patent was incorrectly attributed to another, but Andre Cassagnes was the actual inventor, and Ohio Art (the Etch A Sketch company) proudly gives him the credit. (They bought the rights from him in 1959 for $25,000.)

Enjoy these samples of Etch A Sketch Masterpieces!


38 thoughts on ““World’s First Laptop”: Do You Remember it?

  1. I remember my little sister had one, but neither of us were any good at it! Those ones you put up here are very cleverly done, must have taken lots of practice.
    RIP Andre Cassagnes.

    • Those “sketches” are real works of art. A bit of googling found several (quite a few) people who do their art on the etch a sketch and then sell prints. Who knew? 🙂

  2. Oh, I love my Etch-A-Sketch! I was BRILLIANT at it! Yep. I could draw stairs, and…stairs…and, ummm, stairs. But I was versatile. I could draw stairs going up and stairs going down. Hahaha. Okay, so I wasn’t very good. I loved it anyway. And those samples you posted don’t look possible. They can’t really have been done on an actual Etch-A-Sketch, can they? I mean…look at them! Not a stair in sight!

    Great post, SC. Thanks for the trip down memory lane and the nod to the real inventor of one of the best toys, ever. May he rest in peace!

  3. In 1970, I was a 3-year old in hospital for an operation. The little boy whose bed was opposite mine had this marvellous toy – an Etch a Sketch! He let me borrow it.

  4. I could never draw anything more than an awfully crooked house and an elliptical sun on it!! 😉 But these sketches are amazing!! Thank you for bringing the old days back to my memory…

  5. Ah the memories. Yes I could draw stairs, and circles that didn’t quite touch, and maybe houses, then I would jar it somehow, and poof, some of it would disappear. I can’t imagine how ANYONE could draw the above drawings. Maybe penciled them and photoshopped them onto an Etch-a-Sketch background??? I mean REALLY? I double dare George to come on this site and make himself known and tell us that he ACTUALLY did those drawings on a REAL Etch-a-Sketch!!! Double Dog Dare is issued!!! Come on George V.!!!

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