Mutoscope

Made:
1920s-1940s in New York
maker:
International Mutoscope Reel Company

Mutoscope by International Mutoscope Reel Co Inc, NY, USA. Animated peepshow machine for Mutoscope reels; operated by inserting one penny; internal electric lamp. Contains one reel. Advertising frame for 'The Sudden Surprise' - not related to reel. Section of side cut-away to allow view of reel inside . Serial No AB221 (previously shown as AB 3682 on Kodak Form).

Mutoscopes, commonly known as 'What The Butler Saw' machines, were very popular amusements on piers in the early part of this century, and were one of the earliest ways of seeing 'motion pictures'. The Mutoscope presented the viewer with a sequence of images mounted like flip cards on a rotating drum, each image being slightly different from the preceding image. The user turned a handle and looked through an eyepiece. As the images passed before the eye in rapid succession, the illusion of movement was achieved. At the cost of a penny the viewer could watch a short sequence unfold. Although basically innocent in content, these sequences frequently showed scantily clad women, which meant that Mutoscope operators often came into conflict with the authorities.

On display

National Science and Media Museum: Kodak Gallery

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Details

Category:
Cinematography
Object Number:
1990-5036/6935
Materials:
cardboard, glass, steel (metal) and wrought iron
type:
mutoscope
credit:
The Kodak Collection at the National Media Museum, Bradford

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