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Just Spirograph? No...MAGIC PATTERN!

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Posted 8 years ago

(203 items)

Original Post from DULL TOOL DIM BULB the daily Jim Linderman Blog

You may think there could be nothing more trite than a post on the Spirograph, a toy Kenner claimed rights to, and I guess they did and do. This, however, is the "Magic Pattern" from Japan, which has no date but from the box it certainly goes back earlier than the tiresome plastic gears on the Kenner toy I had as a kid. They always slipped JUST as I was finishing a design.

There was earlier a cool drawing thing known as "Hoot-Nanny" in 1929, shown on Peabody Penquin's Spirograph collection site...and the 1960 or so "Dizzy Doodler" is fairly common. There was also apparently an even earlier child's toy called "The Marvelous Wondergraph" shown in the 1908 Sears catalog. However, no one has contributed THIS box to the Universal Brain yet, so here you go.

What is FAR more fascinating to me is the over 100 teeny tiny drawings I found inside the box under the rickety machine. Not bad, eh? Trippy! They are so beautiful, I'd love to frame each one individually...but anyone who saw them would sneer "oh...spirograph." Some examples are shown. Like Spirograph, but with 75 years of age.

Magic Pattern Japanese Toy (Box, Metal and Wood Drawing Machine) and 100 original drawings, circa? 1930? Collection Jim Linderman


  1. MsDowAntiques MsDowAntiques, 8 years ago
    Here's a site with article and comments/discussion about Spirograph, which I had as a kid, like all my friends did, Thanks for reminding me of the fun and the frustration!

    I have included what A.Jorden wrote about his collection of pattern-making art toys (he says Magic Pattern was a 1950s toy) --

    "Hi everyone I am an avid collector of vintage art design devices. First of all before the spirograph was invented other devices which were used to create the same designs were used and came in a variety of titles, first was the 'WONDER-GRAPH' created in 1907,then the 'HOOT-NANNY' in 1929 later known as the Magic-Designer, then the DIZZY-DOODLER in 1949 made in Dallas Texas, Then the Japanese made 'MAGIC PATTERN' in the 1950s, Other devices which were motorized were also created before the Spirograph, such as The Design-o-graph in 1967, and Marx Co. made the Design-o-marx & Design-All which was much like the spirograph, there where also others created such as the Spiral-o-graph made in Germany, The Super-Circle-Designer was created by Lizbeth Whiting in 1967. The scientific name for the patterns these devices create are know as HYPOTROCOID PATTERNS, set can be purchased on Amazon.com" A.Jorden

    read the rest here -- http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Ul7Sj7aMjugJ:www.retrowow.co.uk/retro_collectibles/60s/spirograph.php+magic+pattern+japanese+spirograph&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
  2. potrero potrero, 8 years ago
    This is cool - interesting to know there was a precursor to the one that ultimately became a household name (there usually is). Love the box and sample patterns.
  3. becci , 7 years ago
    I have a Very old spirograph, nothing missing even the original pin, paper all the pens. Is there a market for these?

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