Etch A Sketch creator, André Cassagnes, dies aged 86

He may not be a household name, but the magic screen he invented is a stock memory for generations of children across the world.

André Cassagnes, 86, inventor of the Etch a Sketch, was confirmed dead last night by the US art firm which marketed his creation. The Ohio Art Company said he died on 16 January, in Paris; he is survived by his wife and three children.

Cassagnes was said to have stumbled by accident across the idea for the toy, a pencil-free pad made of aluminium powder that could be drawn on, cleared and drawn on again. As an electrical technician in the late 1950s he peeled a translucent decal from a light switch plate and found his pencil mark transferred to the opposite face. From that came the idea for the reusable pad. More than 100 million have been sold.

Ohio Art's president, Larry Killgallon, said: "His invention brought joy to so many over such a long period of time."