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The zoopraxiscope - a horse back somersault

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The zoopraxiscope - a horse back somersault

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Summary

Images on a disc which when spun gives the illusion of a man doing a somersault on horseback.
14571Y U.S. Copyright Office.

No. 1.
Copyright by Eadweard Muybridge.
Exhibited: Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, April - July 2010.

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.

Zoopraxiscope is an early device for displaying moving images and is considered an important predecessor of the movie projector. It was conceived by photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge in 1879 (and built for him by January 1880 to project his famous chronophotographic pictures in motion and thus prove that these were authentic). Muybridge used the projector in his public lectures from 1880 to 1895. The projector used 16" glass disks onto which Muybridge had an unidentified artist paint the sequences as silhouettes. This technique eliminated the backgrounds and enabled the creation of fanciful combinations and additional imaginary elements. Only one disk used photographic images, of a horse skeleton posed in different positions. A later series of 12″ discs, made in 1892–1894, used outlines drawn by Erwin F. Faber that were printed onto the discs photographically, then colored by hand. These colored discs were probably never used in Muybridge's lectures. All images of the known 71 disks, including those of the photographic disk, were rendered in elongated form to compensate the distortion of the projection. The projector was related to other projecting phenakistiscopes and used some slotted metal shutter discs that were interchangeable for different picture disks or different effects on the screen. The machine was hand-cranked.

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Date

01/01/1893
person

Contributors

Muybridge, Eadweard, 1830-1904, artist
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Source

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
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No known restrictions on publication.

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