Vintage Spirograph Set

Allee Willis
Submitted by Allee Willis May 7th, 2010
Certifikitsch Winner
Spirograph-box

This is the real deal, vintage 1967 original Spirograph by Kenner No. 401. Although the resulting art was too precise and anal looking for me – zillions of geometric combinations looking like they’re made from little spiders’ legs – I recognize the Spirograph as an icon in Pop Culture. Just like those string art paintings of owls, ships and such that I passionately collect but never felt drawn to create.

Made by locking gears and rotating plastic wheels inside other plastic wheels and tracing with a pen as they move, the rules of this are too rigid for me. Hell, I can’t even paint inside the lines so something demanding precision and this much repetition definitely falls outside my scope. I was always the free form type. But I love that Spirographs make non-artists feel like artists, proud enough to hang their creations on their walls and refrigerators. I’ve always looked at art – any form of it – as something social and a crash course in self expression. So if a series of little curves, technically known as hypotrochoids and epitrochoids, turn most people on who am I to argue?

Spirograph-tools_9742 Spirograph_9740 Spirograph_9745 Spirograph_9746

1960’s Spirograph commercial:

Spirograph-commercial-1960's

1970’s Spiromania commercial:

Spirograph-commercial-1970's
This is the real deal, vintage 1967 original Spirograph by Kenner No. 401. Although the resulting art was too precise and anal looking for me – zillions of geometric combinations looking like they’re made from little spiders’ legs – I recognize the Spirograph as an icon in Pop Culture. Just like those string art paintings – owls, ships and such – that I passionately collect but never felt drawn to create.
Created by locking gears and rotating plastic wheels inside other plastic wheels and tracing with a pen as they move, the rules of this are too rigid for me. Hell, I can’t even paint within the lines so something demanding precision and this much repetition definitely falls outside my scope. I was always the free form. But I love that Spirographs make non-artists feel like artists, proud enough to hang their creations on their walls and refrigerators. I’ve always looked at art – any form of it – as something social and a crash course in self expression. So if a series of little curves, technically known as hypotrochoids and epitrochoids, turn most people on who am I to argue?