Our Thaumatropes

The thaumatrope is among the simplest of the "persistence of vision" toys that were introduced in the early 19th century. In its basic form it is a card with a different picture on each surface and string attached to each side. When the string is wound up then released the card spins rapidly merging the two pictures together. Less common were examples like the mechanical toy below where two images of different phases of a movement caused the image to move.

The illustration on the right below is from a booklet, "Every Boy His Own Toy-Maker" published by F. M. Lupton in 1874. A PDF of this page on making a thaumatrope can be downloaded from this link.

On the left in the row below is a clockwork toy thaumatrope called a New Mechanical Cinema. Most thaumatropes do not show motion but combine two images into one. The cards for this toy show two frames of a movement. The see saw goes up and down, a pair of boxers punch as it turns. We were lucky to find one in pristine condition with its cards in a box.

On the right is a trade card that shows the two sides of a bird and cage image while a boy illustrates the process of spinning the cards to unite the images. The combined image is seen below.

Below you see the two sides of an early 20th century thaumatrope of a horse and circus bare back rider. Below is an animation showing the merged images.

Optical Toys in our collection *Expanded and updated 10/1004
Persistence of Vision Toys
- The Thaumatrope < You are Here
- The Zoetrope
- The Praxinoscope
- The Phenakistoscope
- Flip Books
Our Peepshow Toys
- Diorama Prints
- Peepshow Changing Views
- Peepshow images
Our Zograscope Viewer
Our Magic Lanterns
- Magic Lantern Graphics
- Magic Lantern Slides

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Contact us at studio@brightbytes.com

**NOTE** All items on the Collection of Collections web site are in our private collection and are NOT for sale. From time to time duplicate items from our collection will be offered for sale in the Do You Remember This? shop on the GoAntiques cyber mall. Visit the Do You Remember This? inventory page for photographica and toaster related collectibles.

Please feel free to write us if you want to chat or share information about areas we collect but we will NOT give appraisals.

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Updated on 10/2004