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Etch A Sketch

Hyphens or not?

Many people remember doodling on an Etch-A-Sketch as children, which was launched in the 1960's and became an instant worldwide hit.

The problem is Etch-A-Sketch never existed - it's always been called "Etch A Sketch".

It's officially one one the 100 most memorable toys of the 20th century, according to the National Toy Hall of Fame, so you'd have thought there would be no confusion over how it's name is written. Also, few people realise the 12 second scene in Pixar's Toy Story saved the company in 1995 when it was facing a severe sales decline.

Ohio Art Company

The inventor was the Frenchman André Cassagnes in 1960. It was at that time manufactured by the Ohio Art Company, but is now owned by the Canadian company Spin Master in Toronto. it's design is that of a mechanical plotter, where the screen is coated with aluminium powder which can be scraped off via the use of two rotating knobs connected to left/right and up/down connecting bars which allowed the pointer to be positioned.

It went digital

In 1987, the Etch A Sketch Animator was launched with a dot matrix display, which could store several frames of images, and hence animate them. The was followed by the Etch A Sketch 2000 which looked more like a laptop: it had a touch pad and more memory. A color model, appropriately called Etch A Sketch Color, was launched in 1993.

It famously featured as a character in it's own right in the 1995 Disney computer generated animation movie Toy Story, where it's reported that even the 12 second appearance of the device gave a significant boost in sales, and even more so in the sequel where it was featured for even longer.

This Mandela Effect is closely related to another well-known one, which is concerned with a dash - the Kit Kat/Kit-Kat one.