Earliest Animation

~The oldest known form of “animation”.~
Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau unveiled an invention in 1832 called the Phenakistoscope, a device that is largely considered to be the first mechanism for true animation. The simple gadget relied on the persistence of vision principle to display the illusion of images in motion.

The phenakistoscope used a spinning disc attached vertically to a handle. Arrayed around the disc’s center were a series of drawings showing phases of the animation, and cut through it were a series of equally spaced radial slits. The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the disc’s reflection in a mirror. The scanning of the slits across the reflected images kept them from simply blurring together, so that the user would see a rapid succession of images that appeared to be a single moving picture.

While Plateau is credited with inventing the device, there were numerous other mathematicians and physicists who were working on similar ideas around the same time, and even they were building on the works of Greek mathematician Euclid and Sir Isaac Newton who had also identified principles behind the phenakistoscope.

Hope you enjoy the moving pictures,

Leo

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