Ohio Company Sells Etch A Sketch Rights To Canadian Toymaker

The company behind the toy that has been teaching children about the impermanence of the human condition for more than 50 years has decided to shake things up and sell the rights to make Etch A Sketch to a Canadian toymaker.

The Ohio Art Company, based in Bryan, OH, says that in an effort to focus on its metal lithography business, it has sold the licenses for the famous, red rectangular Etch A Sketch as well as Doodle Sketch to Spin Master Corp., a global toymaker based in Toronto. No terms of the deal were disclosed, perhaps because executives wrote them out on an Etch A Sketch and then shook the thing accidentally.

“We are very happy that children around the world will continue to be able to enjoy Etch A Sketch, one of the world’s most iconic toys, as Spin Master is committed to building upon the success that The Ohio Art Company has created and sustained for more than 50 years,” Ohio Art CEO Elena West said in a statement.

The familiar toy was invented by French electrical technician André Cassagnes, the National Toy Hall of Fame says, who used “the clinging properties of an electrostatic charge to invent a mechanical drawing toy with no spare parts.”

He called it the L’Ecran Magique, and debuted it at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1959. The Ohio Art Company paid $25,000 to license the toy and dubbed it the Etch A Sketch. It was the “must-have-item” in Christmas 1960 after an advertising blitz, the National Toy Hall of Fame says, and has continued to delight and dismay children and adults alike since.