These little “Magic Slate” toys have been popular since the 1950s, really hitting their stride in the ’70s and ’80s.
The concept was simple: They had a sheet of slightly opaque plastic film overlaid on a piece of black paper that was covered in wax. When the included writing stylus (made of plastic or wood) was pressed down on the plastic to write, the film stuck to the wax and the “paper” looked darker in those spots.
To erase the page, you lifted the sheet to separate it from the wax then let it go back into position. Then you had a clean slate, and could start all over again — with no charging cord needed.
If you really want to try these Magic Slate toys again, several retro and new models are available on eBay and Amazon!
Hours of fun for youngsters (1970)
Magic Slate pads will delight every young child. Colorful characters surround the drawing surface, which can be used over and over. Complete with plastic stylus for easy writing or drawing.
Vintage Magic Slate paper saver toys: Peanuts (1960s)
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Magic Slate paper saver toys:Mr Jinks from Huckleberry Hound (1959)
Magic slate pad – use over and over again! Children draw and write, then lift top sheet and see… a “new” surface again! Has an assortment of activity charts.
Vintage magic slate toys: “The Incredible Hulk (1981)
Fun for a kiddie in a hospital, a help to anyone who’s had a jaw broken or suffered a massive attack on his wisdom teeth, could be this “Magic Slate.” You write your message on it, pull it straight up to wipe out your words forever. It’s fine for playing endless bedside games of tic-tac-toe. (1977)
Magic Slate paper saver toys: Star Trek (1978)
Magic Slate Pads have delighted young children for generations
Vintage magic slate toys: Tom and Jerry (1972)
Donald Duck retro drawing toy (1980s)
Vintage Magic Slate toys: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1990s)
Tweety Bird’s Global Patrol – Save Our Planet (1990s)
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My mother always got me one of these when I would come home sick from that virus while my father went and got me some Ginger Ale. It made the recovery go very well
Kids always had bunches of these primarily because they were cheap. They made great stocking stuffers at Christmas, and they also found their way into Easter baskets and birthday party favors. Half the fun of “magic slates” was making whatever you wrote or drew disappear just by lifting the plastic sheet! In college, people used versions of these as message boards in their dorm rooms.