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Hit the Lights!

Devorah Hirsch

After he tried it himself, he sat back and said, ‘That’s my item!’ He and Marvin inked a deal within an hour.” And thus, Lite-Brite came to life!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

 Mishpacha image

 

F

irst Light

It was a colorful window display using hundreds of colorful lights. Marvin Glass, Henry Stand, and Burt Meyer were in New York City for the 1966 Toy Fair — and were part of the admiring crowd of onlookers. As toy designers, they were one-track minded: how to create a toy with the bright-light concept? Undeterred by the difficulties of creating a cost-effective, in-home, safe product, they got to work.

Burt Meyer burned some midnight oil creating a prototype that fit the bill. And once that was done, it was easy to convince a company to manufacture it. In his words: “I brought (Hasbro president) Merrill Hassenfeld into our conference room. I dimmed the lights and plugged it [the Lite-Brite prototype] in. As soon as I put a peg in, it lit up. After he tried it himself, he sat back and said, ‘That’s my item!’ He and Marvin inked a deal within an hour.” And thus, Lite-Brite came to life!

Lite-Brite Timeline

1967 The Original Lite-Brite

Cheers for the new toy! Black box with light, and included 400 pegs in eight colors — green, blue, red, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and clear. Included were black use-once-and-toss templates for a boat, flag, ducks, cat, house, flowers, boy, girl, and pumpkin. (Except that no one ever threw them out after one use; they kept using them over and over even though the holes were all punched.)

 

2001 Lite-Brite Cube

Now you can have fun on all four sides. That means that more than one kid can play at a time. No more fights!

2004 Illumin-Art Easel

This one looks like a minicomputer. The standard Lite-Brite screen flips over and becomes a light-up easel. Kids can now view animations, color with special glowing markers, and trace light-up images in addition to plugging in the pegs.

2010 Lite-Brite Flat Screen

This one is great for kids on the go. It’s a portable version. Cordless and battery-powered, it can be taken just about anywhere! And even used in the car or on an airplane. Light bulb was upgraded to an LED light. Get yours in blue for boys or pink for girls.

2014 Lite-Brite Magic Screen

Sleeker and smaller design mimicking the look of the tablet. Compartment to store the pegs on the side. And no more throw-away template papers: they’re now color coded and prepunched so you just slide them over the screen. And the basic round pegs are now accompanied by square pegs, as well as specialty shapes like wheels and animals. With the push of a button, you can view four new light shows to enhance your art — blinking, pulsing, steady, or random.

Bandai Luminodot

Creativity and talent are put to the test as artists prepare their artwork, not with ink on paper, but with 3,500 pegs on Luminodot grids. Similar in concept to the Lite-Brite, but double the size and with more colored pegs, it is a definite upgrade and can be used for more detailed scenes. Aptly, a Luminodot fan coined it “a Lite-Brite on steroids.” Backed by a slick black frame with lots of options for lighting animations, the Luminodot can be used as a wall hanging, a centerpiece, or even as an original birthday card. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 687)

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