Fenakistiskop

Article

October 17, 2021

Fenakistiskop - a 19th-century optical toy that uses the properties of human perception to create the impression of movement of rapidly moving pictures. The device consisted of a stick and a round heavy paper disc placed on it; around the shield there were drawings showing the successive stages of the movement, separated by small holes. The viewer stood in front of the mirror, placing the fenneliscop with the printed side facing the pane, then set the dial in motion and looked through the holes in the dial; this created an optical illusion - the drawings reflected in the mirror fused together, creating the appearance of movement. The device could only represent the movement itself, but it could also tell short stories. The device was invented independently at almost the same time by Simon Stampfer (December 1832) and Joseph Plateau (January 1833). The name "fenakistiskop" comes from the Plateau. Further improvements were made to the device - in 1834 William George Horner made the device independent of the mirror, creating the so-called zoetrope, and in 1853 Franz von Uchatius made it possible for more people to see the images of the fenakistiscope by displaying them on the screen by combining the fenakistiscope with a magic lantern.

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