Any 70s kid could become an instant artist thanks to the Spirograph, a drawing toy that used plastic tools to create complex and colorful geometric shapes. The toy provided endless hours of entertainment and proved enormously popular in the 70s and beyond. Let’s take a look back.
The Spirograph was not originally intended as a toy. It was invented my a mathematician named Bruno Abakanowicz at the end of the 1800s to “calculate an area dilimited by curves.” Years later, an engineer named Denys Fisher decided it might also make a great kid’s toy. Kenner bought the rights for US distribution and not long after, every kid wanted a Spirograph.
The Spirograph consists of a number of differently-sized plastic rings, each containing gear notches on the inside and outside. The rings could be pinned to a piece of cardboard to hold their place on a piece of paper, and each ring contained small holes that you could insert a ballpoint pen through. Spin the gears with the pen and watch the magic begin.
In later versions of the toy, such as the Super Spirograph, other shapes were included, such as triangles and straight bars, also fitted with the same notches. With these, a seemingly endless number of designs could be created with the Spirograph.
And for the younger artists, the Spirotot was a preschool-friendly version of the original, with fewer small parts that were easier for small hands to handle.
The Spirograph is still produced today, and is now made by Kahootz Toys. Nice to know that some of the classics are still around, isn’t it?
If you have fond memories of playing with a Spirograph as a kid, I hope you’ll take a moments to share them in our comments section below.