What's Inside an Etch A Sketch?

Rebecca OConnell

You probably know a lot about the Etch A Sketch, the classic drawing toy that debuted in the '60s, but do you know how it works? The father-and-son team behind the YouTube channel What’s Inside? decided to take one apart and find out.

After breaking through the outer plastic layer, Lincoln and his dad Dan discovered … a lot of aluminum powder. That silvery dust coats the screen of the Etch A Sketch and is responsible for providing a blank canvas for users. The knobs control a metal pointer that's fitted onto two crossed metal bars.

When you adjust those knobs to create a picture, the metal pointer moves, dragging along the screen and wiping away the metal powder. Those lines you see on an Etch A Sketch are actually just the blank spaces where the aluminum has been swept away. Shaking the toy covers the screen in a fresh coat of powder so the artist can start all over again. Learn more of the toy's inner workings in the video above.

[h/t SPLOID]

Primary image courtesy of YouTube.