Le Praxinoscope, made by Emil Reynaud, Paris. 12.5cm diameter drum; two facet mirror drum. French patent 120484, 30 August 1877 'Appareil pour obtenir l'illusion du mouvement a l'aide de glaces mobiles'. Six complete bands, plus fragments.
Miniature Praxinoscope, made in France, c. 1877.
This optical toy, a variation on the Zoetrope, was invented by the artist Emile Reynaud. A paper band showing successive images of movement is placed around the circumference of the drum. At the centre is a series of mirrors, each reflecting a single image. The drum is rotated and the viewer looks at the mirrors, which reflect each successive drawing, giving the illusion of movement.
This is possibly the earliest example of showing a moving picture without the need for intermittent motion and shutter mechanisms. Know as 'optical stabilisation', this mirror drum technique was later applied to early television and, using prism blocks, to high speed cine cameras.
- Object Number:
- mahogany (wood), metal (unknown), mirror-glass (silvered), paper (fibre product), wood (unidentified)
drum: 125 mm,
- tools and equipment
- equipment by process
- image viewing equipment
- furnishing and equipment
- toy - recreational artefact
- optical toy
- The Kodak Collection at the National Media Museum, Bradford
Cite this page
We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.
Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero
Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence
Download catalogue entry as json
Download manifest IIIF
Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.