See how it works

Figure 1.7

The Zoetrope

First introduced in 1834, the zoetrope was revised and patented, in both Britain and France, in the 1860s, when it became a popular toy. William George Horner originally called it the Daedalum (for “Devil’s Wheel”); it became the zoetrope (“wheel of life”) when it was patented in the United States by William F. Lincoln. Horner based his device on Plateau’s phenakistiscope, but it was more convenient to operate because no mirror was needed and because more than one person could use it at the same time. Note that, in the zoetrope, two principles are simultaneously engaged: (1) rapidly repeating images merge into one, and (2) a continuously repeating stimulus is interrupted rapidly and repeatedly. When the speed at which the images are presented exceeds a critical threshold, a series of discontinuous images appears to become a continuous flow.

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