The Phenakistoscope

The animated GIF ain’t got nothin’ on the phenakistoscope, a device from 1841 that created animated scenes within a series of spinning discs.

Joseph Plateau Phenakistoscope history gifs animation
Via the Richard Balzer Collection
Joseph Plateau Phenakistoscope history gifs animation

Via the Richard Balzer Collection

Joseph Plateau Phenakistoscope history gifs animation

Joseph Plateau Phenakistoscope history gifs animation

Created by Joseph Plateau, the Phenakistoscope was a device thought to be the first mechanism for true animation. Via Juxtapoz:

The phenakistoscope used a spinning disc attached vertically to a handle. Arrayed around the disc’s center were a series of drawings showing phases of the animation, and cut through it were a series of equally spaced radial slits. The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the disc’s reflection in a mirror. The scanning of the slits across the reflected images kept them from simply blurring together, so that the user would see a rapid succession of images that appeared to be a single moving picture.

tumblr_mpldtmEyq61r9jbwno1_1280

Joseph Plateau Phenakistoscope history gifs animation

Joseph Plateau Phenakistoscope history gifs animation

Advertisements