The device known to be used in mathamatical scientific studies of linier continuous hypocotroydal lines has a history of being used in creative art and dates back to the late 1800s and earlier. We have know these designs in our day and age as SPIROGRAPH ART, and these devices come in many forms and are as complex as the designs which they create.

Drawing toys based on gears have been around since at least 1908, when "The Marvelous Wondergraph" was advertised in the Sears catalog. The Boys Mechanic publication of 1913 had an article describing how to make a Wondergraph drawing machine. An instrument called a spirograph was invented by the mathematician Bruno Abakanowicz between 1881 and 1900 for calculating an area delimited by curves.

Spirograph commercial:

But British electronic engineer Denys Fisher invented the Spirograph as we know it as a toy in 1962. He was in the process of designing and researching bomb detonators while working for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He worked in England for a family owned business. The company was called King Fisher Engineering. In the process of applying one of his inventions to the industrial world, members of his family caught on to the interesting patterns that occurred and wanted to try marketing the product as a game.

He spent 20 months perfecting his plaything, spending £1,000 patenting it in 16 countries. In March 1965 the first Spirograph went on sale in Schofield's department store in Leeds. A feature about it on Blue Peter proved crucial, and the following year saw more than a quarter of a million sets sold throughout the UK. It was voted 'UK Educational Toy of the Year' from 1964 to 1966.

Having met Joseph Steiner, the co-founder of Kenner Products -which had already successfully developed Play-Doh and was later to produce Star Wars action figures- on a trip to America, Fisher struck up an agreement with Kenner, and the Spirograph was well on its way to global success.

In 1968, Kenner introduced Spirotot, a less complex version of Spirograph, for preschool-age children, too young for Spirograph.

Updated: 18 Feb. 2018

Spirograph value

What's it worth? Take a look at this Spirograph price guide: sold listings for a value indication.

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