The Zoetrope

The zoetrope (ZOH-uh-trohp) is an animation toys that became popular in the 19th century when people began to explore new ways to make images move.
The zoetrope first appeared in the United States in 1867; 33 years after it was invented by the English mathematician William George Horner, 1834.
Horner’s idea took the form of a drum with an open top. Around the drum, a hand-drawn sequence of images was placed.
As the drum spun, the imaged gave the illusion of movement through the slots on the paper.  This illusion, based on the persistence of vision (how the eye perceives light), is similar in principle to the operation of our present-day movies and television.
The Museum’s collection includes a zoetrope made by Milton Bradley & Co. of Springfield, MA. It bears the inscription “The Zoetrope or Wheel of Life, Patented April 23, 1867.”
Hundred-year-old zoetrope sequences are brought to life once more through the magic of computer animation.

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