Illustration from Recreations Physiques,       
by A. Castillon, Paris: Hachette 1863       
Drawn by B. Castelli, eng. by C[harles] Maurand        
(The Projection Box)
     
TEST PAGE AWAITING PERMISSIONS

 

 

The Thaumatrope Revisited; or: "a round about way to turn'm green".1


The thaumatrope is usually referred to as the first in a line of optical toys that led to motion pictures. It is, however, interesting as a device in its own right, featuring aspects of juvenile education, classical allusion, punning and social satire as well as visual perception. The most useful modern accounts of the device are by Richard J. Leskosky - Two-state animation: the thaumatrope and its spin-offs (Animation Journal, Fall 1993), and the monograph Dr Paris's Thaumatrope by John Barnes, published in 1995 but written in 1950, the latter being the only extensive historical account of the original version of the toy. The purpose of this article is to expand on these essays, incorporating research concerning the history of the 19th-century thaumatrope, by the present writer. Work is ongoing.2

Greek "thauma" (wonder) and "tropos" (to turn)

Behold the potter! by whose magic turn,
The shapeless clay becomes a magic urn;
What turn can any Thaumatrope produce,
So full of wonder, or so full of use?
Anon, 1825.3

Bird-in-cage thaumatrope, the subject        
of the first hand-made example, by Dr. Fitton       


William Henry Fitton       
(Wikipedia, Creative Commons)
     

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

In recent years a number of authors and academics have examined that old and familiar optical toy, the thaumatrope, in their books and academic papers, resulting in some very interesting thinking about the nature of this device in relation to visual perception, and our present consideration of what Tom Gunning has called 'technological images' of the 19th century.4 However, these accounts have been based largely on previously well-known historical sources. Much more is 'out there' to be found, and some 'new' material is included in this article, which I believe adds usefully to our understanding of the sociological positioning of the thaumatrope during its early years.

The invention

The original thaumatrope was a cardboard disc with a piece of silk or string attached to opposite points near the edge, and components of a picture printed on each side. When the disc is spun by twisting the strings, both parts of the picture are seen alternately but appear to form a complete image. The best known example has a bird on one side and a cage on the other, which combine so that the bird appears to be in the cage. Some examples are square or rectangular. Some later versions incorporated apparent movement. (The word thaumatrope was sometimes used as a generic term to describe motion sequence toys such as the phenakistiscope.)

The story of the thaumatrope involves many prominent names from the 1820s world of science, including mathematician Charles Babbage (1791-1871), inventor of the significantly more complex calculating engine; geologist William Henry Fitton (1780-1861); John Herschel (1792-1871) astronomer and later experimental photographer; chemist William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828) of camera lucida fame; David Brewster (1781-1868) inventor of the kaleidoscope; and John Ayrton Paris (1785-1856), who would later write The Life of Sir Humphrey Davy (1831).

In his 1864 memoirs Babbage tells of a dinner party where Herschel asks those present how he can show two sides of a shilling at the same moment; Babbage's solution: by looking at its reflection in a mirror. Herschel betters this, by spinning the coin. On being told this story, Dr. Fitton later brings a painted thaumatrope he has made, to show Babbage.5 We must remember that almost forty years had passed between the events Babbage relates and the publication of his account, and there are certainly some chronological discrepancies.6 Also, by 1864 Dr Fitton was dead, so would not have been able to comment on the story. Nevertheless, it seems reasonable to assume that Babbage's account of Dr. Fitton making the first one-off thaumatrope is likely to be true. Less likely contenders for the invention, attributed by others, include Herschel (no doubt due to Babbage's story), and Wollaston (claimed as the inventor by William B. Carpenter).7

However, Sir David Brewster had earlier credited the invention to Dr Paris, M.D. Cantab. FRS, a physician and dietary specialist with an interest in geology and chemistry.8 In an 1867 account, daguerreotypist Antoine Claudet suggested that Paris saw Herschel's spinning coin.9 Perhaps what really happened was Paris saw or heard of Fitton's hand-made toy and decided to produce a commercial printed version, without considering its origin; so we could consider Fitton its inventor, and Paris its developer and commercial exploiter. The thaumatrope was registered at Stationers' Hall, 2 April 1825: Publisher, Wm Phillips, George Yard [Lombard street, London].10 Phillips' trade was printing, but at a time when the profession - and even the word - scientist had yet to be invented he was also a respected mineralogist, and would be made Fellow of the Royal Society in 1827. Paris and William Phillips (1775-1828) had been acquainted for some years at least; in 1824 Phillips had printed the second edition of Paris's A Guide to the Mounts Bay and Land's end. Of the thaumatrope Paris later recalled:


Paris's original thaumatrope box, 1825      
(Richard Balzer Collection)        


Paris's original thaumatrope set, 1825      
(Richard Balzer Collection)       


Charles Babbage, 1871       
Illustrated London News       
(Wikipedia, Creative Commons)      

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was first induced to publish it, at the earnest desire of my late friend Wm Phillips, who was the first person to whom I shewed it; & he undertook to get the subjects lithographed, & to arrange the sale of it. It was, of course, soon pirated, & spurious copies distributed. A large number was exported to India, but the Captain turned out a rogue, deserted his cargo, & has never since been heard of - so much for my first & last merchantile speculation. I however gained about £150 from the sale in this country, which was expended for educational objects in my family; so here then you have "a true and particular account of that wonderful phenomenon termed the Thaumatrope", as the showman would say. I may add that I never put my name to it.11

To this writer's knowledge, only one set of thaumatropes by Paris and Phillips is known to exist, in the Richard Balzer Collection.12 This includes the original box, with the label giving Phillips as the publisher. These are without mottoes. A single Paris / Phillips thaumatrope survives in the Cinématheque Française (Will Day) Collection; no.8 on the list and with a figure 8 printed on the disc: a boy pelting a dog kennel on one side, and an emerging dog on the other. Around one edge is a motto, in manuscript: 'Take care, when you Turn round he'll Turn out'.13 Day's catalogue of 1936 lists this as one of Paris's thaumatropes, noting that it is "extremely rare", but Day's catalogue has many errors.14 Nevertheless, this is clearly a survivor from a Paris set. Evidently then, despite all previous accounts stating that the mottoes were printed on the discs, they were actually printed on a separate sheet, and could be added to the discs by hand if desired.

Sold in boxes of 12 for seven shillings, or 18 for half a guinea (ten shillings and sixpence), the first sets of thaumatropes could be purchased from the printer and, according to the periodical John Bull, at the Library of the Royal Institution.15 In the 1820s, half a guinea was a typical weekly wage for a mill worker.16 The high price was commented on in the New Monthly Magazine, soon after the toy appeared:

DR. PARIS, an ingenious physician at the West end of town, has just invented an amusing and philosophical toy ... Some persons have objected to the high price of the Thaumatrope (7s.), but we think most unjustly. It is quite fair that the inventor should be reimbursed for his invention; and to be so, he must sell the Thaumatrope while it is new: for the construction of the toy is so easy, that it will soon be copied by every one capable of drawing, and become as common as another philosophical and beautiful invention - the Kaleidoscope.17

Babbage is incensed

Charles Babbage was clearly incensed at the involvement of the Royal Institution in the success of the simple thaumatrope; he considered that support for more serious researchers was lacking. In 1830 he wrote:

Unless there exist peculiar institutions for the support of such inquirers, or unless the Government directly interfere, the contriver of a thaumatrope may derive profit from his ingenuity, whilst he who unravels the laws of light and vision, on which multitudes of phenomena depend, shall descend unrewarded to the tomb.18

As to whom this was that Babbage referred to, who had unravelled the laws of light and vision, isn't clear. Perhaps it was William Hyde Wollaston, who had died two years earlier, and would later be named by Benjamin Carpenter as the thaumatrope's inventor. His optical work was important.19 After Wollaston's death in 1828, his house was inhabited by Charles Babbage. Wollaston had not been short of funds, but perhaps Babbage considered that his friend should have been rewarded by the government for his lifetime's devotion to science. However, Babbage was hardly in a position to complain about others - such as Paris - receiving institutional assistance. By 1830, he had himself been given large sums by the government to develop his Difference Engine, intended as an economical method for 'the computation of astronomical and mathematical tables', and would continue to receive funding until the government killed the project in 1842, by which time he had obtained more than £17,000.

In his 1830 diatribe Babbage does not dispute the ingenuity of Paris (clearly the 'contriver'); only decades later in his memoires does he claim the inventor as Dr. Fitton, inspired by Herschel's observations.20 Babbage's 1864 account, with the page heading THE THAUMATROPE: ITS RETRIBUTION also describes - ' ... one additional thaumatrope made afterwards ... (the design upon it being a penny-piece) with the motto, "How to turn a penny." On the other side was a gentleman in black, with his hands out in the act of spinning a thaumatrope, the motto being, "A new trick from Paris."'21 Historian John Barnes asks, 'Can it be that Babbage here suggests that Dr Paris, having stolen the invention, proceeded to turn it to his own financial ends?'22 This is unbdoubtedly what Babbage meant.

Although Babbage's words suggested that his dislike for Paris was on account of the doctor 'stealing' the idea of the thaumatrope, the true cause of this evident animosity would seem more likely to have been caused by Paris's satirical joke at Babbage's expense. In 1824, Babbage had won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society for his 'calculating engine' - the Difference Engine that would never quite be finished, and later abandoned when he commenced work on the Analytical Engine. Paris's advertisement sheet for the thaumatrope joked about 'machinery by which works could be composed by a mechanical operation' ... 'the author of the present invention claims for himself the exclusive merit of having first constructed a hand-mill, by which puns and epigrams may be turned out...'23 The true butt of the joke wasn't missed on the reviewer for the Literary Gazette, who noted: 'The proprietor ranks his discovery with that of steam-poetry - he might perhaps claim relationship for it to the calculating machine.' He continued the "in joke" with the comment: 'We believe this invention to be purely British, and that Paris will advance her claims in vain.'24 Very likely Babbage recognised that John Paris was making fun of him and his calculating machine, and the mention here of the thaumatrope design 'A New Trick from [Dr.] Paris' - whether real or imaginary, and if real whether produced by Babbage himself or someone else - was evidently his revenge.25


Theodore Edward Hook       
(National Portrait Gallery, Creative Commons)      
 
 



From John Bull, 1825       
(Lester Smith Collection)       




Paris / Phillips disc No. 10       
(Richard Balzer Collection)
     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The thaumatrope reviewed

The support of so simple a novelty by such an august body as the RI was ridiculed with relentless irony throughout a leading article in John Bull in 1825, linking its importance to the great thinkers of England. The writer, most likely editor Theodore Edward Hook (1788-1841) - a prolific author known for his witty, incisive criticism and pitiless invective - adds the name of the editor of a competitor's journal, the poet Thomas Campbell, for further ironic effect:

At a period when such men as BENTHAM, BROUGHAM, ...Mr. MACAULAY, CARLISLE[sic] and Mr. CAMPBELL (the Editor of the New Monthly Magazine), are straining ever[y] nerve to enlighten the understandings, and improve the condition of the people of England, it must be highly gratifying to perceive that the Royal Institution has in its high and corporate capacity, had the same vital subjects under consideration, and come forward in a laudable and decided manner, to give its highly important support to the diffusion of knowledge, and the advancement of science, through the medium, and by the means of an agreeable diversion; thus blending the useful and sweet in a manner likely to fascinate even the most idle to industry, exite the unlearned to a love of deep research, and inspire the dull and ungifted with wit, wisdom, and GENIUS.

The writer sarcastically applauds the thaumatrope for 'the solution which it affords of a hidden and hitherto unintelligible problem, for which the country has to be grateful...' .26

Despite the caustic criticism the article carefully lists titles of all eighteen subjects, together with the rhymes associated with each and an advertisement; [illo] which can only have helped sales. No.12 is an anthropomorphic picture, formed of a carrot, cabbages, and a radish on one side; and 'a turnip &c' on the other - blending into a figure of a man. The couplet referred to the epic Roman poem Metamorphosis:

"These plants were men, believe but Ovid's strain, They now come round, and turn to Man again."27

The London Mechanics' Register carried a review (from the Hereford Independent), noting a particular example, one of several punning on the theme of political revolution:

...the inventor has very ingeniously contrived to make a king by revolution. This is one of the best tricks on the cards; the head, legs, and arms of a man appear on one side, and the regalia on the other, we give the card a turn, and a king is made out of nobody. This exploit is thus set forth in the accompanying epigram:

Legs, arms, and head, alone appear,
Observe that no-body is here,
NAPOLEON like, I undertake,
Of nobody a King to make.28

Following this rhyme in the John Bull transcript are the letters and exclamation 'F.C. !!!' John Bull presumes that these indicate a name and notes sourly that the author 'has appended his initials, lest his effusion should be mixed up with the coarser materials.'29 Or could it be that the letters stand for Fortis cadere, [cedere non potest] (The brave may fall, but never yield), indicating a real and dangerous political statement; hence Paris's initial reluctance to be associated with the device?30

Another disc features a gallows on one side and a hanging corpse on the other: "Turn round and you'll see a Turn off. Wonder not, for it is a common consequence of a Revolution." 31

In 1820 five conspirators in the Cato Street conspiracy had been hanged for High Treason, and their heads subsequently severed from their bodies. Their plan had been to kill the Prime Minister and the entire cabinet, thereby overthrowing the government, and then to set up a Committee of Public Safety which would supervise a radical revolution.32

Tom Gunning refers to a thaumatrope disc with a bald-headed man and a wig, explaining that the riddle, "Why does this man appear over head and ears in debt? : Because he has not paid for his wig" is a linguistic play oscillating between literal and figurative meanings.33 This disc is actually a later copy based on a subject first used by John Paris, and the original allusion was political.34 In Paris's version, the conundrum is: "Why does this head resemble an opposition candidate at the late Westminster Election? : because a revolutionary movement places a Whig at the top of the Pole."35

As with the Cato Street Conspiracy, the 'late Westminster Election' referred to here had also taken place in 1820 (in March-April). It seems perhaps unlikely that this topical political joke was still current five years later when the thaumatrope set was published. Could it be that the puns and discs had actually been prepared in 1820, but their publication delayed as being too risky?36

[For more about the review in John Bull, and a full list of subjects, see The Paris / Phillips Thaumatrope page.]

The thaumatrope was one of several optical illusions described in the Edinburgh Journal of Science in January 1826. The author - most likely the editor, David Brewster - states that it was 'invented, we believe, by Dr. Paris':

The Thaumatrope / being / Rounds of Amusement, / or / How to please and surprise / By Turns.

He gives the disc size as two-and-a-half inches, criticises the manner of attaching the strings, and suggests an improvement, a solid axis, to eliminate the 'hobbling effect'. (A similar review in the Glasgow Mechanics' Magazine gives the disc size as four-and-a-half inches; larger than most examples known.)37


Vignette by George Cruikshank,       
Philosophy in Sport, 1827.       


John Ayrton Paris       
(National Portrait Gallery, Creative Commons)       

 

 

 

 

 

 

It next appears in the book Philosophy in Sport made Science in Earnest (1827), anonymous, but written by Paris, named as author in posthumous editions. In the conversational style then popular, a Mr Seymour - his name being one of many such puns associated with the toy - describes and demonstrates to two children various devices - including the thaumatrope - illustrated by the chapter heading, a woodcut from a sketch by George Cruickshank. In the original edition Mr Seymour receives a boxed set as a gift; the text evolves with each edition, and in later versions he becomes its inventor.38

 

Two-phase movement

The possibilities of incorporating simple, two-phase movement into a thaumatrope design have often been exploited. In 2012, the media picked up on a story that suggested a prehistoric origin for the thaumatrope - supposedly a stone or bone disc carved with two phases of animal movement, one on either side.39

A variation incorporated limited movement. By setting the disc between a perforated cardboard ring, with holes offset in relation to the holes in the disc, the disc stops (when the string is pulled tight) in a slightly different position. This could cause a jockey to be unseated from his horse, or the number of balls thrown by a juggler to change from two to four (in one position, two of the balls would coincide with the other two). But with this arrangement the brief 'action' would not repeat. A further improvement was suggested, the addition of a spring on one of the strings, to produce a repeating 'see-saw' motion, allowing subjects that required repetitive movement - such as the juggler - to be properly represented. This development, with the ring discarded and elastic replacing the spring, appears in the third edition of Paris's book; a man drinking from a bottle.40 No commercial versions incorporating this technique are known.

David Brewster wrote again on the thaumatrope, in Letters on Natural Magic (1832), suggesting a version incorporating a screen with apertures through which a complex landscape could be shown; perhaps stretching the potential of this simple device too far.41

'Inferior imitations' and public exhibition

From the first edition of Philosophy in Sport, readers are warned against 'inferior imitations' on sale in London shops.42 Examples of sets by other makers, six in a box for a shilling, are in the National Media Museum (Bradford, UK), and Museo Nazionale del Cinema (Turin). Some of the subjects are adapted from Dr. Paris's set. The box label reads 'THAUMATROPICAL Amusement. To illustrate the seeming Paradox of Seeing an Object which IS OUT OF SIGHT and to demonstrate the faculty of the Retina of the Eye to retain the impression of an Object after its disappearance. VIDE ET CREDE [see and believe].' These versions include printed mottos on the actual discs.43

Public display models of working thaumatropes were produced from quite early on. A reminiscence of 1896 notes that 'Somewhere about 1835 the management of the Polytechnic Institution of London introduced into their exhibition an invention of Dr. Paris called a thaumatrope. This was quickly superseded by another called the phenakistascope... [sic]' - as an entertainment the popularity of the later moving-image toy devised by Plateau and Stampfer was evidently considered likely to be more engaging to visitors.44

A toyseller in Henry Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor (1851) describes a sheet of cutout thaumatrope designs, and mentions the ''Magical Figures', or rude street imitations of Dr. Paris' ingenious toy, called 'Thaumascope'.45 Stampfer's stroboscopic disc partner M. Trentskensky of Vienna published a set of 12 designs c.1835.46 German[?] writer Joseph Frick's book Physical Technics, published in English in Philadelphia, suggested cutting in half a picture playing card such as a Jack, pasting the backs together, and fastening the end in a groove in a round stick.47

Other effects

As well as the thaumatrope's ability to present two parts of an image in quick succession to make them merge into one, other perception effects were noted. 'A new fact relating to binocular vision' by Antoine Claudet, Proceedings of the Royal Society 1867, features a design comprising the word VICTORIA, with alternate letters on opposite sides, combining when the card is spun. Claudet notes that with the cords fixed level with one side of the card - and the two sides therefore presented in slightly different positions (the thickness of the card) when the thaumatrope is spun - this depth is evident when the observer uses both eyes, proving that 'binocular vision can detect ... the most minute difference in the distances of objects.' Claudet also suggests experiments in colour mixing.48 B. Joy Jeffries, (1868) in 'Remarks upon the principles of the thaumatrope' accepts Claudet's findings concerning the depth effect but offers alternative perceptual explanations.49



American watercolour set       
(Richard Balzer Collection)       


Thaumatrope project, from The Boy's Own Toy-Maker       


One of four thaumatropes presented       
with the Boy's Own Paper       
Movement is implied, but not simulated       
(The Projection Box)         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Available for free download soon       
(The Projection Box)
    

 

 

 

 

 

Variations

Variations using words or figures all involved an incomplete picture on each side of the disc, coming together to produce a complete image. A simple way to suggest movement - a complete picture on each side, with a different pose and position of the subject, representing the extreme phases of a simple action - was not proposed by Paris but later exploited as the Pedemascope using a stop-start, back-and-forth action. Mechanical, spinning thaumatropes with complete pictures on both sides - two-phase animations - are illustrated in Hopwood's Living Pictures (1899); one turned by a crank and pulley, another rotated by blowing on the vanes of a windmill.51 The latter idea had been patented in 1876 by Wiliam H. Earle.52

Popular subjects

Popular subjects of 1830s French thaumatropes include Napoleon, and a balloonist. A set c.1900, Jeu du Thaumatrope, has chromolithograph pictures on one side, and black-and-white silhouettes on the other; effective in such subjects as a Punch and Judy Show, a Magic Lantern presentation, and fish in an aquarium.53

No early commercial American thaumatropes have yet been found, but a charming set of watercolour originals c.1840 - including an enigmatic trope of a woman being lowered or raised from a well - survives in the Richard Balzer Collection.54

Basic thaumatropes were produced by penny toy manufacturers and books and magazines for children through the 19th and 20th centuries. Ebenezer Landells' The Boy's Own Toy-Maker (London, 1859) shows a silhouette design of a boy and donkey on a rectangular card.55 [illo] The Boy's Own Paper described optical toys in 1881, and included a full-colour sheet with four cutout thaumatropes (together with two phenakistiscopes).56 German paper engineer Lothar Meggendorfer (1847-1925) drew a detailed set in 1897.57

Thaumatrope as metaphor

Some words originally coined as names of optical inventions, such as phantasmagoria and kaleidoscope, became used in a wider descriptive context. During the 19th century the word thaumatrope was occasionally used as a metaphor, as shown by several examples given by the logician and theologian Richard Wately (1787-1863), Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin. At the 1852 Industrial Exhibition in Cork, Dr Whately - who had attempted to establish a non-sectarian system of education - gave the inaugural lecture, impressing on the audience the importance of good educators, and it was later reported that this talk included mention of the thaumatrope.

A member of the audience, one especially interested in the subject, enables us to complete an important portion of this branch of the lecture. Dr. Whately, in continuation, goes on to show that the Catholic system was a striking example of the fallacy of Thaumatrope. Thus, in youth, spirituals and seculars become so united, as to direction, in the mind's eye, that, constantly whirled, infallible in one is transfered to infallible in the other; whereas in manhood, the same fallacy will correct and overthrow the system; thus false philosophy proved in seculars is extended to spirituals, authority in which becomes thereby overthrown, to the utter destruction of all Church authority in the matter of education.58

Whately's book Elements of Logic included a different thaumatrope metaphor:

Two distinct objects may, by being dexterously presented again and again in quick succession, to the mind of a cursory reader, be so associated together in his thoughts, as to be conceived capable, when in fact they are not, of being actually combined in practice. The fallacious belief thus induced bears a striking resemblance to the optical illusion effected by that ingenious and philosophical toy called the Thaumatrope ... A chief part of the defence which various writers have advanced in favor of the system of Penal-Colonies, consists, in truth, a sort of intellectual Thaumatrope. The prosperity of the Colony, and the repression of crime, are, by a sort of rapid whirl, presented to the mind as combined in one picture. A very moderate degree of calm and fixed attention soon shows that the two objects are painted on opposite sides of the card.59

Yet another example was included in Elizabeth Jane Whately's Life....

This is a case in which men impose on themselves by the fallacy of the Thaumatrope. On one side are painted (to obviate the absurdity of a probable law) the plain, earnest, and repeated injuctions to the Jews relative to their Sabbath; on the other side (to obviate the consequence of our having to keep the Jewish Sabbath), we have the New Testament allusions to the Christian assemblies on the first day of the week. By a repeated and rapid whirl, these two images are blended into one picture in the mind. But a steady view will show that they are on opposite sides of the card.60

     

Finally....

In this age of more sophisticated visual devices the simple attraction of Dr. Paris's toy continues: many types of card, metal, and plastic thaumatropes have been produced since 1900, including a popular silver charm bracelet declaring: I LOVE YOU, adopting a suggestion that dates back to Brewster: 'Particular letters may be given on one side, and others upon the other, or even halves or parts of each letter may be put upon each side ... so that the sentiment which they express can be understood only when all the scattered parts are united by the revolution of the card.'61 And with that, the thaumatrope has turned full circle.

Back to The Wheel of Life

Notes

1. The Literary Gazette's reviewer describes one of the subjects: 'under the appropriate title of "a new tune to an old joke, or a round about way to turn'm green," we have a birch rod on one side of a card speedily clothed in the finest verdure in a shower of leaves fom the other.' Turnham Green, originally a village on the main road between London and the west, and now a park in Chiswick. Literary Gazette and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, 1825. Vol. 9, 236. "↩"

2. Although some aspects of Dr. Barnes's work have inevitably become dated since it was written in 1950, and even since its 1995 editing and publication by the present writer - existing examples of the original Paris / Phillips thaumatropes have since been located, for instance - that monograph together with this new account gives as complete a history as can be established until further research has been undertaken. "↩"

3. Anon. rhyme quoted in: [Anon., prob. T.E. Hook] (1825) John Bull, 24 April. "↩"

4. Gunning, Tom. 2012. Hand and Eye: Excavating a New Technology of the Image in the Victorian Era, Victorian Studies Vol. 54 No.3., 2012. "↩"

5. Babbage, Charles. 1864. Passages from the Life of a Philosopher London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green, 189. "↩"

6. Assuming that Paris's thaumatropes were designed just before publication in 1825, then there are problems with Babbage's later account. See note 36. "↩"

7. Carpenter, William B., On the Zoetrope and its Antecedents, in The Student and Intellectual Observer of Science, Literature, and Art, Vol.1 No.4 July 1868, 429. "↩"

8. Brewster, David (attributed to), Description of the Thaumatrope, The Edinburgh Journal of Science , vol.4, no.12, January 1826, 87-88. "↩"

9. Claudet, A. 1867. A new fact relating to binocular vision. Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science [ed. Brewster] Taylor & Francis London Vol. xxxiii S.4 No.226 Suppl. Vo.33, 549-554. "↩"

10. Barnes, John. 1995. Dr. Paris's Thaumatrope London: The Projection Box 1995, 22-24 "↩"

11. Paris, John Ayrton, Letter 3176 (to Faraday) c.9 August 1856. Royal Institution IET MS SC 2. [Extract.] [Frank A.J.L. JamesProfessor of the History of ScienceThe Royal Institution, E-mail: fjames@ri.ac.uk. PERMISSION NEEDED] "↩"

12. http://www.dickbalzer.com/Thaumatropes.260.0.html "↩"

13. Mannoni, Laurent. 1995. Le Mouvement Continué, Catalogue illustré de la collection des appareils de la Cinématheque française Paris: Mazzotta, Cinématheque française, 220. "↩"

14. Day, Wilfred E. (n.d., 193*) Illustrated Catalogue of the Will Day Historical Collection of Cinematograph and Moving Picture Equipment, page 14. A description of an exhibition featuring Day's collection reported: "A further and most interesting item is a thaumatrope, a cardboard disc device showing pictures in motion [sic], originally sold by the Royal Society [sic] for a penny [sic]. Will Day's agents searched for one of these for years, and it cost him hundreds of pounds before they discovered it." 'The First Film Made', Evening Post, issue 100, 24 October 1922. "↩"

15. Anon., [prob. T.E. Hook] article in John Bull, 24 April 1825. "↩"

16. Bowley, Arthur Lyon (Sir). 1900. Wages in the Nineteenth Century, notes for the use of students of economic and social questions Cambridge: Cambridge U.P. 1900, 114. "↩"

17. Literary Report, New Monthly Magazine 1825, 177. "↩"

18. Babbage, Charles. 1830. Reflections on the Decline of Science in England, and on some of its causes London: B. Fellowes, and J. Booth 1830, p.19. "↩"

19. Wollaston is remembered for his observations of dark Fraunhofer lines in the solar spectrum (1802), which eventually led to the discovery of the elements in the Sun. He invented the camera lucida (1807), the reflecting goniometer (1809), and the Wollaston prism. He also developed the first lens specifically for the camera, called Wollaston's meniscus lens, or just meniscus lens, in 1812. The lens was designed to improve the image projected by the camera obscura. [WIKIPEDIA.] Also: wave theory of light [DNB] After Wollaston's death in 1828, his house was inhabited by Charles Babbage. Wollaston was not short of funds, but perhaps Babbage considered that he should have been rewarded by government for his lifetime's devotion to science. "↩"

20. Babbage, Charles. 1864. Passages from the Life of a Philosopher London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green, ch.xiii, 189-190. "↩"

21. Babbage, Charles. 1864 Passages from the Life of a Philosopher London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green, ch.xiii, 189-190. "↩"

22. Barnes, John. 1995. Dr. Paris's Thaumatrope or Wonder-Turner , The Projection Box, London. "↩" 22.

23. Paris's advertisement sheet. "↩"

24. Literary Gazette and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, 1825. Vol. 9, 236. "↩"

25. Note about 'engine' comment by Tom Gunning. "↩"

26. Anon., [prob. T.E. Hook] article in John Bull, 24 April 1825. "↩"

27. Anon., [prob. T.E. Hook] article in John Bull, 24 April 1825. Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC-AD 17/18), known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, had by 8 AD completed his most ambitious work, the Metamorphoses, a hexameter epic poem in 15 books which encyclopedically catalogues transformations in Greek and Roman mythology from the emergence of the cosmos to the deification of Julius Caesar. The stories follow each other in the telling of human beings transformed to new bodies - trees, rocks, animals, flowers, constellations, etc. "↩"

28. Anon. (1825) 'The Thaumatrope' London Mechanics' Register 16 April 1825, 397. "↩"

29. Anon., [prob. T.E. Hook] article in John Bull, 24 April 1825. "↩"

30. The use of a Latin saying is pure conjecture, but the continuing references to and emphasis of Revolution would quite likely have made Dr. Paris reluctant to put his name to the toy at this stage. "↩"

31. Anon., [prob. T.E. Hook] article in John Bull, 24 April 1825. "↩"

32. One of the main players, Arthur Thistlewood, stabbed and killed one of the Bow Street Runners. Information from: http://www.historyhome.co.uk/c-eight/distress/cato.htm "↩"

33. Anon., [prob. T.E. Hook] article in John Bull, 24 April 1825. "↩"

34. Details of later set. "↩"

35. Anon., [prob. T.E. Hook] article in John Bull, 24 April 1825. "↩"

36. Brewster later remembers Sir Joseph Banks being in the Chair at a meeting of the Royal Society when he (Brewster) overheard comment about Paris's thaumatropes, and Banks died in 1820, the conspirators had been hung on 1st May, and Sir Joseph had died on 19th June. Even if Sir Joseph was still chairing meetings until immediately before his death, that would have given Paris only a few weeks to prepare the thaumatropes - assuming that the gallows example was a direct reference to the Cato Street incident, rather than just a general reflection on the likely outcome of plotting a revolution. Refs: Barnes and ? "↩"

37. Brewster, D. 1826. Edinburgh Journal of Science vol.iv no.1 January, 87-88 [should be Number VII ? ]. Anon. 1826. The Thaumatrope. Glasgow Mechanics' Magazine; and Annals of Philosophy . vol. 4 No. CXI 4 Feb 1826, 386-387, Glasgow [illo., bird-in-cage thaumatrope, front page] "↩"

38. Anon. [Paris, J.A.] 1827. Philosophy in Sport made Science in Earnest, being an attempt to illustrate the first principles of natural philosophy by the aid of popular toys and sports.
Title of sixth edition 1846: Philosophy in Sport made Science in Earnest, being an attempt to illustrate the first principles of natural philosophy by the aid of the popular toys and sports of youth.
Title of seventh edition 1853: Philosophy in Sport made Science in Earnest, being an attempt to implant in the young mind the first principles of natural philosophy by the aid of the popular toys and sports of youth.
The editions listed above were issued by various publishers. For a full list of editions, and other references, see the annotated bibliography in: Barnes (1995).
"↩"

39. Rivère, Florent. la préhistoire du cinéma.
http://florentrivere.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/la-prehistoire-du-cinema.html
"↩"

40. Ref: Barnes, 1995, pages... "↩"

41. Brewster, David. 1832 Letters on Natural Magic, p.28 in the 1834 edition. "↩"

42. Anon. [Paris, J.A.] 1827. Philosophy in Sport made Science in Earnest, being an attempt to illustrate the first principles of natural philosophy by the aid of popular toys and sports. p.** "↩"

43. Cook, Olive. 1963. Movement in Two Dimensions, London: Hutchinson, facing 117; and Museo Nazionale del Cinema (Turin) book. "↩"

44. Report and Proceedings of the Belfast Natural History & Philosopical Society 1896, 63. "↩"

45. Mayhew, Henry. 1851. London Labour and the London Poor (The author) vol.1 286-7. "↩"

46. Füsslin, Georg. 1993. Optisches Spielzeug Stuttgart: Verlag Georg Füslin, 17. "↩"

47. Frick, Joseph. 1861. Physical Technics: Or, Practical Instructions for Making Experiments in Physics and the Construction of Physical Apparatus with the most limited means. (tr. John D. Easter) Lippincott, 205 fig. 350. "↩"

48. Claudet, A. 1867. A new fact relating to binocular vision. Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science [ed. Brewster] Taylor & Francis London Vol. xxxiii S.4 No.226 Suppl. Vo.33, 549-554. "↩"

49. Jeffries, B. Joy. 1868. Remarks upon the principles of the thaumatrope. Transactions of the American Ophthalmological Society vol.1 (4-5) 98-101. "↩"

50. See: Barnes, 1995, p.17. A photograph of a very rare Pedemascope can be seen in Reichardt, Jasia (ed.). 1969. Play Orbit London and New York: Studio International. "↩"

51. Hopwood, Henry Vaux. 1899. Living Pictures, Their History, Photo-production and Practical Working, London: Optician & Photographic Trades Review, 32. "↩"

52. Patent title, William H. Earle (0182550). "↩"

53. Examples here, on Fran¨ois Binétruy's website:
http://www.collection-binetruy.com/4908.html?&tx_jppageteaser_pi1[backId]=485
"↩"

54. Watercolor thaumatropes by Mary W. Alsop, c.1840.
http://www.dickbalzer.com/Thaumatropes.260.0.html
"↩"

55. Landells, Ebenezer. 1859. The Boy's Own Toy-Maker: A Practical Illustrated Guide to the Useful Employment of Leisure Hours London: Griffith and Farran. "↩"

56. Scoffren, Dr. 1881. Optical Toy Sport. Boys Own Paper vol.iv no.153, 17 December, 190. "↩"

57. Fusslin, Georg. 1993. Optisches Spielzeug [Meggandorfer, illos.] "↩"

58. Fitzpatrick, William John. 1864. Memoirs of Richard Whately, Archbishop of Dublin London: Richard Bentley, 122. "↩"

59. Whately, Richard. 1871. Elements of Logic. Comprising the Substance of the Article in the Encyclopaedia Metropolitana. New York: Sheldon & Co., p.216-217. Perhaps included in earlier editions, the first of which was published in 1826, shortly after the appearance of the thaumatrope, and before the publication of Paris's Philosophy in Sport. "↩"

60. Whately, Elizabeth Jane. 1866. Life and correspondence of Richard Whately, D.D.; late Archbishop of Dublin London: Longmans, Green, and Co., p.338. Whately's Thoughts on the Sabbath was published in 1832. For a modern view of the viability of the Thaumatrope fallacy as propounded by Whately, see: Douglas N. Walton, Alan Brinton. 1997. Historical foundations of informal logic, Aldershot: Ashgate, 107. "↩"

61. Brewster, David. 1832. Letters on Natural Magic, pp. 27-28 in the 1834 edition. "↩"

Stephen Herbert

----------------------

REFERENCES

Anon. Literary Report. New Monthly Magazine 1825, 177.

Advert. 1825. Manchester Guardian, 14 May, 2.

Anon. The Thaumatrope 1825 London Mechanics' Register 16 April 1825, 39.7

Anon. [Paris, J.A.] 1827. Philosophy in Sport made Science in Earnest, being an attempt to illustrate the first principles of natural philosophy by the aid of popular toys and sports.

Title of sixth edition 1846: Philosophy in Sport made Science in Earnest, being an attempt to illustrate the first principles of natural philosophy by the aid of the popular toys and sports of youth.

Title of seventh edition 1853: Philosophy in Sport made Science in Earnest, being an attempt to implant in the young mind the first principles of natural philosophy by the aid of the popular toys and sports of youth.

The editions listed above were issued by various publishers. For a full list of editions, and other references, see the annotated bibliography in: Barnes (1995).

Anon. 1826. The Thaumatrope. Glasgow Mechanics' Magazine ; and Annals of Philosophy. vol. 4 No. CXI 4 Feb 1826 p.386-387, Glasgow [illo., bird-in-cage thaumatrope, front page]

Anon., [prob. T.E. Hook] 1825 article in John Bull, 24 April.

Babbage, Charles. c.1830. Reflections on the Decline of Science in England, p***

Babbage, 1864. Passages from the Life of a Philosopher Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green London, ch.xiii,189-190.

Barnes, John. 1995. Dr. Paris's Thaumatrope or Wonder-Turner , The Projection Box, London.

Brewster, D. 1826. Edinburgh Journal of Science vol.iv no.1 January, 87-88 [should be Number VII ? ]

Brewster, 1832. Letters on Natural Magic, addressed to Sir Walter Scott, Bart. John Murray, London

Claudet, A. 1867. A new fact relating to binocular vision. Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science [ed. Brewster] Taylor & Francis London Vol. xxxiii S.4 No.226 Suppl. Vo.33, 549-554.

Claudet, A., F.R.S., 1867. 'title', Proceedings of the Royal Society 1866-7: 11 April.

Fitzpatrick, William John. 1864. Memoirs of Richard Whately, Archbishop of Dublin London: Richard Bentley.

Frick, Joseph. 1861. Physical Technics: Or, Practical Instructions for Making Experiments in Physics and the Construction of Physical Apparatus with the most limited means. (tr. John D. Easter) Lippincott 1861, 205 fig. 350.

Fusslin, Georg. 1993. Optisches Spielzeug [Trentskensy, Meggandorfer, illos.]

Gunning, Tom. 2012. Hand and Eye: Excavating a New Technology of the Image in the Victorian Era, Victorian Studies Vol. 54 No.3.

Gunning, Tom. 2011. The Play between Still and Moving Images: Nineteenth-Century Philosophical Toys and Their Discourse, in: Rossaak, Eivind, Between Stillness and Motion. Film, Photography, Algorithms. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press 2011, 27-44.

Herbert, Stephen. (****) refs: *, *, * and * reprinted in: A History of Pre-Cinema.

Jeffries, B. Joy. 1868. Remarks upon the principles of the thaumatrope. Transactions of the American Ophthalmological Society vol.1 (4-5), 98-101.

Landells, Ebenezer. 1859. The Boy's Own Toy-Maker: A Practical Illustrated Guide to the Useful Employment of Leisure Hours London: Griffith and Farran.

Leskosky, Richard J. 1993. Two-State Animation: The Thaumatrope and Its Spin-Offs. Animation Journal. Fall 1993, 20-35.

Mannoni, Laurent. 1995. Le Mouvement Continué, Catalogue illustré de la collection des appareils de la Cinématheque française Paris: Mazzotta, Cinématheque française Paris: Mazzotta, Cinématheque française.

Mayhew, Henry. 1851. London Labour and the London Poor, vol.1, 286-7.

Paris, John Ayrton, Letter 3176 (to Faraday) c.9 August 1856. Royal Institution IET MS SC 2. [Frank A.J.L. JamesProfessor of the History of ScienceThe Royal Institution, E-mail: fjamesATri.ac.uk. PERMISSION NEEDED]

Scoffren, Dr. 1881. Optical Toy Sport. Boys Own Paper vol.iv no.153, 17 December, 190.

Walton Douglas N., Alan Brinton. 1997. Historical foundations of informal logic, Aldershot: Ashgate, 107.

Whately, Richard. 1871. Elements of Logic. Comprising the Substance of the Article in the Encyclopaedia Metropolitana New York: Sheldon & Co. Perhaps included in earlier editions.

SEE ALSO

d'Hondt, Ivan. De Thaumatrope van Dr. Paris. Het Bewegend Beeld als Pedagogisch Hulpmiddel, 1827. Plateau, 17:1 (1996) p.7.

Furniss, M. (1825) [advert.] Manchester Guardian, 14 May, p.2

James, Frank A.J.L. The Correspondence of Michael Faraday Vol.5 p.130 etc (Plateau to Faraday 5 Aug 1856, etc)

Leskosky, Richard J. 1993. Two-State Animation: The Thaumatrope and Its Spin-Offs, Animation Journal, Fall, 20-35.

Quigley Jr., Martin. 1948. Dr Paris' Toy, in Magic Shadows, The Story of the Origin of Motion Pictures, 80-84

Richard, T. Nouveau Manuel complet des Jeux, enseignment la Science, ou Introduction à l'Étude de la Mécanique, de la Physique, etc., contenant des Théories scientifiques et des Recherches historiques sur les Jeux les plus usuels with woodcuts, 2 vols. 1837. A plagiarism of Paris's Philosophy in Sport. Tracings of George Cruikshank's illustrations are here credited to M Godard.

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=RbUAAAAAMAAJ&q=thaumatrope#v=snippet&q=thaumatrope&f=false

SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL

List of Dr. Paris's thaumatropes

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