The little animation device shown by Bob Wilson tonight was originally called the Daedatelum by its British inventor, William George Horner in 1834. French inventor, Pierre Desvignes renamed it the Zoetrope after the Greek words zoo meaning animal or life and trope meaning things that turn. This name stuck and is the name used world-wide for this novelty movie device.
The frames are painted on a long strip of paper or card that drops into the cage and rests along the wall. A person spins the cage and then observes the image through the moving slits. The slits let the viewer's eye see one image after the other. Visual persistence forms the moving image, just as it does with contemporary films and videos.
Bob's example is most likely an 1880s - 1890s American model since it was constructed of paper. The British and European models were usually constructed of metal. In the 1850s a stereo version was attempted using a vertical wheel on a horizontal axis.
ABOUT THE IMAGES. Click on any image and in a few seconds you will see an enlarged view in a separate window. The images were taken with a Nikon 990 digital camera and modified as required in Photoshop. All images are © 2001 by the Photographic Historical Society of Canada and may be used if the source is mentioned.