Eadweard Muybridge and
The Thaumatrope

 Eadweard Muybridge, known for his Flip Books

Whenever someone mentions Eadward Muybridge they almost always think of the horse picture. Muybridge was the first person to capture the act that awhile during a trot a horses hooves are all off the ground at the same time.

He then went of to create the famous the circles that are used in another of his inventions called the zoopraxiscope.

This early moving picture machine projected images from rotating glass disks in rapid succession giving the viewer the impression of motion. Yes it was crude by today’s standards, but at the time it was truly revolutionary.

ThaumatropeA phenakistoscope disc in motion

This device took a disc that was
mounted vertically on a handle and spun it. A series of pictures, drawn to correspond with the frames of the animation, were placed around the inside of the disc. People could spin the disc and see the disc's reflection in a mirror. As the disc turned the images magically moved.


Eadward Muybridge Thaumatrope

Another optical toy worth mentioning is the thaumatrope. The thaumatrope is a simple, mechanical optical toy that also uses the phenomenon of persistence of vision. It has often been recognized as a precursor of modern day animation. All animation uses persistence of vision to trick the eye into seeing motion where there is only a series of still drawings or photographs. Most of us learned about this optical trick by making rudimentary flip books in school.

Flip Books

Do you remember the excitement you felt the first time your saw a flip book in action? Now imagine being the first person to make one! This is how the idea for blending still motion photography and rotation began. It is important to remember that people at this time in history were still marveling over the fact that you could even take a picture without standing still for 10 minutes. The idea that you could take these still images and make them move was almost supernatural!

Old flip books (flipbooks) are essentially the earliest form of animation and led to the creation of modern motion pictures. Flipping or spinning the idea is the same, whether you are using a flipbook or thaumatrope, both rely on persistence of vision to create the illusion of motion. This illusion is caused in the brain. Our mind sees the image move rather than a series of individual images being shown one after another. These are easy to make yourself.

Directions for creating your own flipbook:

We will create an animated fire. Start with a post-it note pad. A Flipbook goes backwards. Draw a flat wide X on the all of the pages in the same place, (these will be your logs) begin to draw a short flame that grows on each successive page. Remember to start at the last page and work your way forward towards the top of the post-it note pad. Add more flames as you progress towards the top of the pad. About 3 quarters of the way thru start to shorten the flames. Reduce them page by page and when they are gone add a trickle of smoke slowly curling up. voila! You have your first fully animated flip booklet!

After the introduction of flip books and the thaumatrope moving pictures caught fire. Muybridge became a celebrity because or a picture of a horse but he set in inadvertently set in motion sophisticated flip books (animated films), multiple cameras showing single frames in sequence(motion pictures) and hand altered film (special effects). The next time you see a great movie you have eadward Muybridge to thank.

Muybridge Discs

Shown here are a few of the works of Eadweard Muybridge. This galley shows you the disks that are available to be perches through out store.

Now you can create your own Muybridge optical toy!


Athletes - Boxing
The original was made c1893 by Eadweard Muybridge.
Images on a disc which when spun gave the illusion of two men boxing.   Click on the image to view a bigger size!

Muybridge athletes boxing
Buy This Print Now!
Only $9.97   Watermark will NOT show up on the print

flip books

Man on a Horse
The original was made c1893 by Eadweard Muybridge.
Images on a disc which when spun gave the illusion of a horse galloping.  
Click on the image to view a bigger size!

Muybridge horse
Buy This Print Now! Only $9.97   Watermark will NOT show up on the print


A horse back somersault
The original was made c1893 by Eadweard Muybridge.Images on a disc which when spun gave the illusion of a man doing a somersault on horseback.
    Click on the image to view a bigger size!

Muybridge horse somersault

Buy This Print Now! Only $9.97    Watermark will NOT show up on the print

Marey studio

A couple waltzing
The original was made c1893 by Muybridge, Eadweard
Images on a disc which when spun gave the illusion of a couple dancing.              
Click on the image to view a bigger size!

Muybridge couple waltzing
Buy This Print Now! Only $9.97   Watermark will NOT show up on the print

These are modern print reproductions printed on 12" x 18" paper.
They can then be mounted on any kind of foam core or hard backing and made into your own toy!

Etienne Jules de Marey

Eadweard Muybridge traveled to Europe for a lecture tour in 1881. In Paris, he visited Etienne-Jules Marey studio and Marey introduced him to his stop-motion studies.
Muybridge used a number of cameras to study movement, Marey used only one.

This inspired Muybridge.
When he came home he continued to improve his own work in the animal and human locomotion.

You can't buy these reproduction prints
anywhere else on line!


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Etienne Jules de Marey and Muybridge
Eadward Muybridge

Phillip Prodger, who was a photographic historian, says Muybridge fits the image of most great English eccentrics. Sometimes his behavior went beyond whimsical peculiarities, erupting in a violent outbursts and temper tantrums. Yet in most social situations he was friendly, amicable even charming.

Don't miss out on the chance to get your own discs from this great master!!

Don't miss out on this opportunity to get your own discs from this great master!!

Eadweard Muybridge Photographer ~ Muybridge and Leland Stanford
Thaumatrope and Flip Books ~ The Zoopraxiscope and Motion Picture ~ Optical Toys

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