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The History Of The Etch A Sketch King: George Vlosich III

Updated on July 22, 2013

Classic Etch A Sketch

Etch A Sketch Is Still Popular


Invented by Arthur Granjean in his garage in 1959, the first incarnation of the "Etch A Sketch" was originally called "L'Ecran Magique", the magic screen. He took it to the International Toy Fair in Germany where it was looked over by The Ohio Art Company a couple of times before they decided to take a chance on it. It was renamed "Etch A Sketch", a registered trademark, and it's popularity soared. In 1960, Ohio Art advertised the toy on television and manufactured them through noon on Christmas Eve, then shipped then to California so the people there could buy them in time for Christmas at the price of $3.99. The Etch A Sketch has changed very little over the last fifty years. In 1998-1999, the Etch A Sketch was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, joining other legendary toys such as; Frisbee, Hula Hoop, Lego, Lincoln Logs, Radio Flyer Wagon, and Play-Doh, all registered trademarks.

George In Action

George Vlosich III

George Vlosich III is the reigning king of the "Etch A Sketch" art form. He first began using the toy when he was ten years old, although he had been drawing since he was two. He was given an Etch A Sketch to play with on a family vacation and George sketched the U.S. Capitol. His parents were amazed and took a picture of it. Later, the sketch got him an invitation to the White House. When George was eleven, Ohio Art began sending him sketches after a representative of the company paid him a visit to verify that he was actually doing the artwork. Originally, he would pick one up and just draw whatever came to him, but now he sketches on paper first and plans each one carefully. It takes approximately seventy-plus hours to create an original sketch, and his art has garnered him many invitations from celebrities and sports figures. George has a website which shows many of his sketches and explains his process in detail. In addition, he receives requests from all over the world for his artwork.

How It Works

Inside an Etch A Sketch you will find: a small amount of very fine aluminum powder mixed with beads, a plastic stylus, side wires, and two metal rods.The beads are added to keep the aluminum powder from caking when the toy is shaken or put upside down. The wires are attached to the knobs and to the metal rods. The plastic stylus is attached where the metal rods cross. By turning the rods, the stylus is scraped across the inside of the plastic screen, dislodging the aluminum powder and giving the appearance of a line. 

Did You Have An Etch A Sketch?

Did You Have An Etch A Sketch When You Were A Child?

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    • janiek13 profile image

      Mary Krenz 2 years ago from Florida's Space Coast

      Thanks Roger for the interesting information, however, Etch A Sketch is a bit different than etching glass.

    • profile image

      Roger 2 years ago

      There are two methods to avchiee the etched look actually etching the glass . or using a spray-on etch'. You can find the spray-on etch at most craft stores, some home-building supply stores, etc. You make a stencil, and just spray on the texture it looks like the glass has been etched when you are done.To actually etch the glass, you would most likely need to remove the panes from the door. You would need to get some muriatic acid to do the etching with, and again, a stencil of your desired pattern. Etching glass takes practice put too much on, or leave it on too long,and it goes too deep. Not to mention, you are working with acid . all safety precautions would need to be taken eyewear, chemical mask, and chemical resistant gloves o.. and a safe place to work, hehehe. I would recommend that you go to the craft store and by the spray-on . much faster and easier to work with and if you don't like it you can scrape it off.Have Fun!

    • janiek13 profile image

      Mary Krenz 6 years ago from Florida's Space Coast

      I am glad that you liked it, thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      rita2668 6 years ago

      lots of information! thanks.

    • janiek13 profile image

      Mary Krenz 8 years ago from Florida's Space Coast

      Thanks richie222!

    • richie222 profile image

      Rick Testut 8 years ago from Florida

      An interesting study in reasearch--GOOD JOB!! Keep 'em comin'! Rick

    • janiek13 profile image

      Mary Krenz 8 years ago from Florida's Space Coast

      Thank you! I couldn't even draw houses, but my boys are pretty good.

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      Excellent hub! I never knew the history of the etch-a-sketch. I'm amazed by that video. The range of my etch-a-sketch art was drawing houses :)