In 1829, a Belgian physicist devised a form of animation that is akin to our modern-day gifs: a spinning disk patterned with small repeating illustrations, attached to a handle that allowed it to spin and “animate” the imagery. Due to the rapid progression of technology, phenakistoscopes’ popularity lasted only a couple of years, yet they yielded wondrously beautiful moments in time and perhaps, a glimpse of the future. Check out these big ones, that somehow set a fine tone for a weekend…

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Some are rather modernist…

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…Some border on psychedelic…

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This one has the curious effect of feeling the world turning…

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Wonder what would happen in you watched this for a while…

Phenakistoscope - England - 1833 - Joseph Plateau

 

Phenakistoscopes Courtesy of the Richard Balzer Collection; view more here.

via AnOther

 

 

2 replies on “200-Year-Old Mechanical Gifs are Like Mandalas

  1. Thanks, Sally! You have given me yet another wonderful artist to discover and enjoy. Wish I had heard of him before I retired, but I will share him with my grandchildren 🙂

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