Catering to the creativity of the more "cutting edge" kids, is a geometric drawing toy that involves popping in one of the seven optional gears and using the special Spirograph pen to draw any variety of colorful designs. The products Spirograph produce include such things as artistic greeting cards, unique book covers, eye-catching school folders and wild wrapping paper.
The Spirograph was invented by a British engineer by the name of Denys Fisher. Fisher, born in the city of Leeds, developed a wide variety of drawing toys between the years 1962 and 1964 including Meccano pieces and, of course, his famed Spirograph. The Spirograph was first on display at the Nuremburg International Toy Fair in 1965 until the rights for the product were purchased by Kenner Products of Cincinnati, Ohio a year later in 1966.
From the ground up, the Spirograph is an ingeniously designed toy of specific appeal to those who are mathematically-minded. Technically speaking, the toy creatively draws curves that are known as hypotrochoids (a curve of a circle which rolls upon the concave side of a fixed circle) and epitrochoids (a plane curve made by the motion of a fixed point on the radius of a circle).
Mechanically, the toy is constructed using a set of edged plastic gears and a variety of other shapes including triangles, rings and straight bars, all of which have teeth by which to grab any of the other pieces. The simplest way of picturing the functionality of a Spirograph may be to picture smaller gears fitting snugly inside the smaller gears and rotating around in a spiral motion.
The attraction of Spirograph is that it enables the user to craft many different creative designs and shapes. Though the end products appear intricate and complex, generally speaking using Spirograph is quite simple. The drawer uses a plastic pin to fasten a sheet of paper over top a thick cardboard palette. The edged teeth of the second plastic piece grab the already pinned piece. After the paper is securely fastened, the drawer will then place the tip of his pen in any one of the holes in the moving piece to begin crafting a creative design. As the moving piece makes its way across the fastened paper, the pen positioned in the hole makes a mathematically and geometrically memorable design in the shape of a curve.
New users of Spirograph will typically etch out very basic curved shapes using his writing hand and all the tools that the package provides and prescribes. However, as he gets more comfortable with the artwork possibilities and begins to learn how to use both hands to create designs, the artistic possibilities of Spirograph are limited only to the imagination and ingenuity of the artist!
The technical product design and complex artwork the Spirograph produces combine to make this toy one of the most popular and enduring of all time.