Friday, May 13, 2011

Zoetropes, Phonographantasmascopes and Praxinoscopes for Friday

I certainly can come up with the timely topics. I made a zoetrope many years ago in fine-arts summer school in a really bitching animation class and it was one of my favorite things ever. How I wish I still had my little zoetrope that spun on a pencil--so cool. You can buy kits to make these or just craft your own at this point, thanks to YouTube. Phonographantasmascopes are the best-named things of all time and look really cool too--like a 3D zoetrope that seems to be animating before your very eyes whilst trodding upon a turntable. Praxinoscopes use mirrors in a clever way and will wow you in an ol' fashioned manner, my friend.

You know that long ago, people sat around parlours admiring their hosts' praxinoscopes and exclaiming that it really looked like a tiny goat was jumping over an obstacle a hundred million times before their very eyes. No wonder people have always loved to entertain. To watch the little goats, of course.

Basic zoetrope demo. It fools the eye!

Pixar has made the ultimate zoetrope (of course). It's lovely.

Time on your hands? Make a high-tech zoetrope. Be the envy of everyone.

What's a phonographantasmascope? So glad you asked.

The praxinoscope makes good use of tiny mirrors.

And don't forget the other interestingly named, round, spinny animation device, the phenakistoscope.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I thought you might be interested to know about my new website, The Wheel of Life. The subject is 19th-century sequence-picture optical toys: zoetropes and such.

The Home page is here:

this links through to the main essays.

The Contents list is here:

this links to other pages.

There’s lots still to do to get the basic website finished (links to image sources, more main essays, etc) and then I’ll try to add something every month.

I hope you enjoy The Wheel of Life as it develops, and I’m always pleased to hear comments, and learn new things about the subject.

Best wishes,

Stephen Herbert