The World's Largest Public Domain Media Search Engine
[Optical illusion disc with somersaults and horseback riding]


[Optical illusion disc with somersaults and horseback riding]



The disc is spun displaying the illusion of motion of a figure doing somersaults in a circle at the center of the disc and a man horseback riding in a circle at the outer edge of the disc.
Published in: McLean's optical illusions; or magic panorama. London, T. McLean, 1833.
Exhibited: American Treasures of the Library of Congress.

Equestrian equipment and Horse Race Images.

In 1832, Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau and his sons introduced the phenakistoscope ("spindle viewer"). It was also invented independently in the same year by Simon von Stampfer of Vienna, Austria, who called his invention a stroboscope. The phenakistoscope consisted of two discs mounted on the same axis. The first disc had slots around the edge, and the second contained drawings of successive action, drawn around the disc in concentric circles. Unlike Faraday's Wheel, whose pair of discs spun in opposite directions, a phenakistoscope's discs spin together in the same direction. When viewed in a mirror through the first disc's slots, the pictures on the second disc will appear to move. After going to market, the phenakistoscope received other names, including Phantasmascope and Fantoscope (and phenakistiscope in Britain and many other countries). It was quite successful for two years until William George Horner invented the zoetrope, which offered two improvements on the phenakistoscope. First, the zoetrope did not require a viewing mirror. The second and most influential improvement was that more than one person could view the moving pictures at the same time.

The phenakistiscope is an early animation device invented in 1832 by the Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau. It consists of a spinning disc with a series of images or drawings arranged around the edge, and a viewing window through which the images can be seen. When the disc is spun and viewed through the window, the images appear to move, creating the illusion of animation. The phenakistiscope was one of the earliest forms of animation and paved the way for later inventions such as the zoetrope and the modern film projector.





Library of Congress

Copyright info

No known restrictions on publication.

Explore more