Classic Toys: View-Masters and Etch a Sketch
Every kid had a View-Master growing up. It was just way too cool to get that 3d effect looking at everything from cartoons to pictures of Disneyland, or even of man walking on the moon. And with a simply click of the advance lever, and you got to see another. And another. Or, slip out the wheel and put in another one. After growing up, I rather lost track of the old View-Master until I went to a restaurant and was given the desert menu on a View-Master. And I thought, my God, what genius! All you need is a scratch and sniff and it would be a rapid rise in sales.
View-Masters are still around, but they’ve undergone some high tech changes since the 60s. My son got a telescope/slide projector by Viewmaster he just loves. The Discovery View-Master Learning 3D Viewer comes complete with sound effects. Reels come from Nick Jr., Disney, Discovery Channel, Barbie, Charlie Brown and a host of others. And companies exist which will put custom content on View-Master reels. But the 64 dollar question is, even though they are cool to hold, watch, and reminisce about childhoods lost, can the View-Master really compete in a digital age of iPods and HDTV? As long as I get my desert menu on one, I don’t really care.
The Etch a Sketch. It’s been around for 100 years. A drawing screen with two knobs that allows users to draw just about anything simply by carefully turning the knobs back and forth. And afterward, you just flip it over and shake to erase it and start over. Here’s how it works: The inside surface of the glass screen is coated with aluminum powder which is then scraped off by a movable plotter stylus that is run by a series of pullies controlled by both knobs. As the stylus moves, it leaves a dark line on the light gray screen. The result is what the user wants to draw. Most just draw straight lines back and forth, but serious sketchers can make art with worth thousands.
These days, the Etch a Sketch comes in a wide variety of sizes from large to pocket sized (not to mention a cool Homer Simpson model), but the result is the same … hours of fun drawing cool stuff.
Coming soon – Big Wheels and Crazy Cars