Praxinoscope, 1878.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 32cm

Praxinoscope, 1878.

© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Invented by the French artist, Emile Reynaud (1844-1918) in 1877, this optical toy was a variant on the Zoetrope. It also had a band of drawings around the circumference of a drum. However, instead of slits around the drum, the Praxinoscope had a series of mirrors in the centre which, as the drum was rotated, reflected each succesive drawing whilst keeping the image stationary. This method of optical stabilisation enabled viewers to see a continuous moving picture without the need for shutters and intermittent motion.

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