An original Spirograph set, manufactured by Palitoy and bought in the UK in the early 1980s (Photo: Wikipedia/Multicherry)

Do you remember Spirograph? I do. My grandmother gave me a set, I think it was in the late 1970s or early 1980s. I remember a box with some yellow curves and some different colour pens inside. I made a lot of drawings, endless..

Spirograph is a geometric drawing toy that produces mathematical roulette curves of the variety technically known as hypotrochoids and epitrochoids. The mathematician Bruno Abakanowicz invented the Spirograph between 1881 and 1900. It was used for calculating an area delimited by curves. Drawing toys based on gears have been around since at least 1908, when The Marvelous Wondergraph was advertised in the Sears catalog. An article describing how to make a Wondergraph drawing machine appeared in the Boys Mechanic publication in 1913. The Spirograph itself was developed by the British engineer Denys Fisher, who exhibited at the 1965 Nuremberg International Toy Fair.

Nathan Friend, a guy who is very handy with designing nice online stuff, made Inspirograph, a digital version. So cool. And you can print and download your artwork. Have fun at:

Or visit the website of the original Spirograph where you can order an “analog” set: