Thursday, 15 January 2009

The mutoscope


Initial plan drawing for the mutoscope.

Yesterday's 'thing' is a mutoscope, a Victorian animation machine. We built it in about 2001, I think, and there was very little information available. A book of 'Optical Toys You Can Make' from the library had a short description, but ended with the warning that it was impossible to make at home. Well!

We managed to find a few pictures online (nothing like you can find today - there are even videos) but didn't really understand how it worked. (Can you imagine - no Wikipedia, no YouTube! Kids have it so easy these days.) I put the moving image in the wrong place in the plan, and other things like ratchet cogs and bicycle pedals fell by the wayside as we figured out how to construct it.

It took a huge amount of work, with no power tools, very little money, and lots of experimentation. But in the end we showed a 2 minute animation on it!

I might be more upset about the imminent destruction of the 'scope than I realised - yesterday's post definitely had a tone.

**Some more great images of flipbook viewers here, if you're interested.

5 comments:

Yardwork said...

I think you should keep it. It looks like it could be good exercise, so it has a dual purpose! It's fascinating! Or maybe some school would like it........

painted fish studio said...

wow, jesse, that is so cool! please don't toss it! what about giving it to a cool little shop or gallery? after all of the work to construct it, it's a piece of art in of itself! if i wasn't half a world away, it'd take it off your hands in a minute...

HB said...

Such dedication to your art! I am impressed - maybe you could donate it to an animation school (a bit of history often gives great insight into the principles behind the art)

Anairam said...

It is amazing - I love stuff like this. And you made one yourself!! Does it still work? Is there no way you can keep it? I agree that you must not trash it - give it to some gallery - or a school's art department - it would be fantastic for students to do a drawimg project around this ...

Freshly Found said...

Wow! I have learn't something. Can't say I ever heard of a mutascope before! I do hope it finds a Happy Appreciative Home!