T H E   Z O E T R O P E

The zoetrope is based on the same principle as the phenakistiscope, but is cylindrical in shape. This enabled several people at the same time to view the moving pictures - an advance over the single spectator of the earlier toy. The English mathematician W.G. Horner was the first to describe the zoetrope, calling it the 'daedaleum'.

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In 1867 an American, William Lincoln, patented 'The Zoetrope' - the first use of the word. It was manufactured in large quantities. Most 19th century zoetropes had thirteen slots. A strip with 12 images will produce a moving subject that appears to progress forwards. A strip of 13 images (the same number as slots) gives a moving image that is stationary. As the figures are always moving when viewed, they appear rather fuzzy.

Milton Bradley was granted a British patent in 1867. A popular model was produced in Britain by the London Stereoscopic Company. In addition to strips, some zoetropes had paper discs that fitted into the base, usually giving moving geometric figures. In many shapes and forms the zoetrope has survived as a toy to this day.

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