Etch-A-Sketch Exhibit!

This popular educational toy is a perennial exhibit-favorite at the UCSD Arts Library.

Borrow an Etch-A-Sketch from us and participate!

Come to the UCSD Arts Library (lower level of Geisel Library). Borrow an Etch-A-Sketch from the Arts Library service desk. Create a sketch on the toy & we’ll place it in our West wing exhibit case. Put your name or a comment on a card or post-it note, if you like, for placement near your sketch. Come back often to see the ever-changing gallery of sketches.

Exhibit is up April 11 through May 30, 2010 and new sketches are added throughout the run.

Questions? E-mail Scott- spaulson@ucsd.edu at the UCSD Arts Library or call (858) 822-5758.

The Etch-A-Sketch was developed in the late 1950’s by French mechanic Arthur Granjean. His toy, L’Ecran Magique, (magic screen) was not an instant hit when introduced at the 1959 International Toy Fair in Nuremburg, Germany. The Ohio Toy Company, who saw the toy at the fair in 1959, but passed on it, relented a year later and bought the rights to it. The toy was renamed Etch-A-Sketch and marketed heavily on television for its 1960 holiday season debut. The Ohio factory that mass-produced the toy that year had to stay open through noon on Christmas Eve and that shift’s supply was rush-shipped to California specifically to meet the demands of West Cost television audiences who absolutely had to get this last-minute ’’must-have’’ screen toy phenomenon. The inner workings of the toy remain the same today: the inside of the screen is coated with a mixture of aluminum powder and plastic beads. The left and right knobs control a horizontal and vertical rod, moving a stylus where the rods meet. The stylus scrapes the screen leaving the line you see. Turning the screen upside down and shaking it re-coats the screen with aluminum powder.

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