Joseph Plateau - Phenakistoscope

In 1832, Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau invented the phenakistoscope, or 'spindle viewer' as a toy for his sons. The optical toy - phenakistoscope, was an early animation device that used the persistence of vision principle to create an illusion of motion.  It was also invented independently in the same year by Simon von Stampfer of Vienna, Austria, who called his invention a stroboscope.  Plateau's inspiration had come primarily from the work of Michael Faraday and Peter Mark Roget. Faraday had invented a device he called "Faraday's Wheel," that consisted of two discs that spun in opposite directions from each other.  From this, Plateau took another step, adapting Faraday's wheel into a toy he later named the phenakistoscope.  The phenakistoscope uses the persistence of motion principle to create an illusion of motion.  Although this principle had been recognized by the Greek mathematician Euclid and later in experiments by Newton, it was not until 1829 that this principle became firmly established by Joseph Plateau. 
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.
The phenakistoscope uses the persistence of motion principle to create an illusion of motion.  Although this principle had been recognized by the Greek mathematician Euclid and later in experiments by Newton, it was not until 1829 that this principle became firmly established by Joseph Plateau. 
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.  
The phenakistoscope was also referred to as the Phantasmascope and Fantoscope and was ultimately replaced by William George Horner's  Zoetrope. 
A zoetrope is different because the images are fitted inside a spinning wheel and users peer through the slits in the side of the toy. This means more than one person can see the moving images for various angles. 
Although the toy was invented before Queen Victoria took to the throne, it became popular during her reign.

A later, handheld version of Plateau's design was created in which the discs were separated, thus removing the need for a mirror. 
Examples of scenes, depicted on the original phenakistoscope, include a couple dancing and horses jumping over fences. Others show jesters performing star jumps as red and yellow birds fly near their heads, frogs hopping around a circle of grass blowing in the wind, and magpies bouncing on top of people's heads as the people are showing eating small blue balls.
There are also kaleidoscopic phenakistoscopes that use geometric shapes to create a hypnotic effect, and more surreal images of men climbing ladders into the mouth of the Moon, or diving into the mouths of lions. 













The digital versions of these stunning animation are created by American photographer Richard Balzer



No comments:

Post a Comment