Friday, September 9, 2011

Whatever Happened to Spirograph?

The other day I was in a creative drawing mood and for some reason, I thought of an old product I remember from childhood: Spirograph.

For the fun of it, I did some research on Amazon. I expected the product to have long ago been discontinued, but instead found a product that did not look much like its fabled predecessor. In fact, on Amazon, the reviews are less than glowing. I looked at the regular Spirograph and at the Deluxe version.

For the regular version, there are eight five-star reviews, and twelve one-star reviews. For the deluxe version, the results look even worse. There are seven five-star reviews, and nineteen one-star reviews.

What happened to Spirograph? Or, more accurately, what happened to the version I grew up with?

Apparently, several of the reviewers had the same response. Although I have not purchased either product, looking at the available images the products seem like stripped down versions of the original (even going so far as to make the gears thinner). The spirograph I remember had gears, pins, rings, and bar-shaped pieces of plastic that the gears could rotate around. That version now sells as a collectible, ironically enough.

For such a creative and yet fundamentally simple product, I wonder why they didn't expand on the good thing they had going and add more, if slightly different shapes to the mix. Perhaps different shaped gears, for example. I guess I'll never understand why some companies choose to tinker with a good thing.

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