schools week 7-11 Feb
EARLY ANIMATION TOYS
www.animatedexeter.co.uk • brochure hotline 01392 265198
EARLY ANIMATION TOYS
At the start of the 20th century and even earlier, simple animation toys were evolved for pure fun but with no camera involved! Some original versions of these amusements can be seen in museums such as the Bill Douglas Centre on the University of Exeter campus. But it is possible to make your own animation devices out of ordinary materials like bits of card and old biscuit tins.
Here are some examples of these optical devices:
The Thaumatrope These appeared in Europe in the early nineteenth century as children’s toys, but could have been around for a lot longer. They are simply disks of strong card with a piece of string on either side to spin them by. On each side there is a picture, and the two fuse together when the disk is spun, a classic design would be a bird on one side and a bird’s cage on the other, so that the spinning reveals not two separate drawings, but the bird within the cage! You could be as imaginative as you like when designing a thaumatrope, for example, you could use photographs instead of drawings, and perhaps make an illusion of yourself with strange disguises when the disk spins, alternatively, you could try out optical patterns with lines and bright colour.
The Zoetrope The Zoetrope is a spinning drum with slits cut from around the top half of the sides at regular intervals, through which a strip of drawings placed inside, right around the bottom half could be seen to move (as if by magic). The drawings, numbering the same as the windows, i.e. about twelve, were also placed at regular intervals, with the figure altering a little as if in movement each time.
The Praxinoscope The Praxinoscope is similar in some respects to the Zoetrope, in that it is a drum shape, but it has mirrors placed on a central pillar. A strip of 18 drawings is placed on the inside wall of the drum and the viewer can watch the drawings reflected in one of the mirrors. The illusion of movement is controlled by the speed at which the drum is spun.
Phenakistoscope This was invented by a Belgian called Joseph Plateau. It was also a spinning wheel, but this time there were several drawings made around the edge of a disk, the viewing of which was controlled by another disk placed in front of it with regularly paced, thin windows cut from it through which the moving image could be seen. The viewer would usually see this as a reflection by operating it in front of a mirror. Since this was somewhat awkward, it wasn’t long before more successful and sophisticated versions were made, namely the zoetrope and the praxinosocope.
Animated Exeter is an Exeter City Council initiative realised through collaboration with our partners, funders, and sponsors and we would particularly like to thank South West Screen, Arts Council South West, City Screen, Devon Curriculum Services, East Devon District Council, participating venues, local businesses, animation companies, artists and volunteers for their continued support.