Stereoscopic spark drum camera, French, 1903.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Devised by Lucien Bull (Etienne Jules Marey's (1830-1904) asistant) this camera took 54 pairs of pictures at up to 2000 frames per second and was the first to analyse the wing beats of insects. The insect was illuminated by a succesion of very bright electrical sparks, fired off by means of the rotary contacter at the side of the camera. The drum (shown here) was driven at up to 40 revolutions a second.