Magic Lite from Hasbro (1969)

Company: Hasbro | Release date: 1969 | Where to purchase: eBay

“The most fascinating new dimension in coloured light.”

In the late 1960s, Hasbro released Magic Lite, a creative toy that allowed children to design using a psychedelic mix of kaleidoscopic patterns and multi-coloured light. Magic Lite was part of the company’s Adventures in Light toy line, including the iconic Lite-Brite, Astrolite, Light-Up Color-Writer, and Trace ‘n Lite.

Operating on a single 25-watt light bulb, Magic Lite was desktop-sized, had a plastic housing in contrasting yellow and red, and a crank handle protruding from the right side of the base.

To create a Magic Lite design, children cut out shapes from one of the provided transparent acetate sheets and placed them within an acetate folder. Hasbro’s pre-printed designs included a clown, farm animals, and flowers. Advertising at the time touted the ability to mix and match shapes to create thousands of different “scenes”.

After inserting the folder into Magic Lite, a turn of the handle activated a rotating colour wheel that produced a shimmering pattern beneath the design. Kids could customize their designs even further by layering and crisscrossing strips of cellophane in alternating patterns, resulting in varied colour changes.

A Magic Lite set included a single roll of cellophane tape, three printed acetate sheets with “magic” cut-outs, six cellophane sheets, one acetate folder, and six Cello-tubes.

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