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Etch A Sketch creator dies in France at 86

– Andre Cassagnes, the inventor of the Etch A Sketch toy that generations of children drew on, shook up and started over, has died in France, the toy’s maker said.

Cassagnes died Jan. 16 in a Paris suburb at age 86, said the Ohio Art Co., based in Bryan in Williams County in northwest Ohio. The cause wasn’t disclosed Saturday.

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

“His invention brought joy to so many over such a long period of time,” Killgallon added.

Then an electrical technician, Cassagnes came upon the Etch A Sketch idea in the late 1950s when he peeled a translucent decal from a light-switch plate and found pencil mark images transferred to the opposite face, the Toy Industry Association said.

Ohio Art saw his idea at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1959. The toy, with its gray screen, red frame and two white knobs that are twisted back and forth to create drawings, was launched in 1960 and became the top seller that holiday season. More than 100 million have been sold worldwide since.

Though passed over in popularity for video games and gadgets, the toy has a steady market, the company has said.

It got a big jump in sales after Etch A Sketch was featured in the first two “Toy Story” movies.

Etch A Sketches were made in Ohio until 2000, when the company moved production to China because of increasing costs.

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