• It has this dust that clings (probably electromagnetically) to the bottom of the glass/plastic screen. It also has a little cursor/stylus (for want of a better word) that moves up and down and left and right, depending upon how the knobs are moved. This scrapes the dust off of the screen. The stylus/cursor is silver colored (at least in my old etch-a-sketch) and is shaped like a Hershey's kiss. This information comes from my experiment when I was about 4. I wanted to know what was making that line, so I endeavored to write on all of the screen (aka scrape all the dust off) in order to see what was in there without breaking my etch-a-sketch. That is why this explanation is given in less than articulate means. It is stored in my mind as the impressions of a 4 year old. For a more "adult" explanation,including the detail that the dust/powder is aluminium, see:
  • Here is the patent!
  • The inside surface of the glass screen is coated with aluminum powder and styrene beads which are then scraped off by a movable stylus, leaving a dark line on the light-gray screen. The stylus is controlled by the two large knobs, one of which moves it vertically and the other horizontally. To erase the picture, one simply turns the toy upside down and shakes it, thus recoating the surface.(wikipedia)
  • Etch A Sketches are filled with small metal particles and work by dragging a magnet where ever you turn the rollers which enables you to draw a picture.
  • And all this time I've been condemning them as witchcraft.

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