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  1. ITV Report

Inventor of the Etch A Sketch, Andre Cassagnes, dies aged 86

The inventor of the Etch A Sketch, that generations of children drew on, shook up and started over, has died in France at the age of 86.

The maker of the toy confirmed that Andre Cassagnes died in a suburb of Paris. The cause of his death has not been revealed.

Etch A Sketch Credit: Ohio Art

Etch A Sketch has brought much success to the Ohio Art Company, and we will be eternally grateful to Andre for that. His invention brought joy to so many over such a long period of time.

– Larry Killgallon, president of Ohio Art, toy maker
  • Cassagnes came up with the idea of the Etch A Sketch in the late 1950s
  • Ohio Art saw his idea at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1959
  • The toy was launched in 1960 and became a bestseller soon after
  • More than 100 million have been sold worldwide

Though passed over in popularity for video games and gadgets, the toy has a steady market. It saw a big jump in sales after Etch A Sketch was featured in the first two 'Toy Story' movies.

Ohio Art capitalized on a much-publicized gaffe by a Mitt Romney aide during last year's presidential election, who was asked about his candidate's views during the primary season versus the general election.

He likened the campaign to an Etch A Sketch: "You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again."

Democrats and Republicans alike seized on the remark as evidence that Romney was willing to change his positions for political gain.

And Ohio Art seized on the publicity, creating a politically themed ad campaign and manufacturing blue versions of the famously red toy.

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