Magic Shadows: The Story of the Origin of Motion Pictures

By Martin Quigley Jr. | Go to book overview

VIII
MUSSCHENBROEK AND MOTION

Magic shadows move in the projector of Musschenbroek, a Dutchman-- Quest for real "motion pictures" continues--Abbé Nollet spins a top--Lantern shows in Paris and London become spectacular.

NOT LONG after Kircher's death his magic lantern projector was in use everywhere in Europe but the apparatus did not do all that was desired. The goal of motion pictures was still around a corner. Pieter van Musschenbroek ( 1692-1761), a Dutch natural philosopher and mathematician, was the first to successfully simulate motion with the aid of the projector and glass slides.

The effects of motion produced on the screen through the system developed by Musschenbroek were crude but progress was made. There was also further concrete evidence that the primitive urge of the first painter to re-create nature with all its life and movement was still powerful and had not been forgotten.

Previously Zahn, as we have seen, mounted a series of glass slides on a circular disk which could be revolved before the lens of the projector. But there the method really only assured quick changes from one still picture to another. In the very beginning Kircher also had the disk idea and in other models of his lantern arranged the glass slides on a long panel so the successive views could be changed rapidly.

Musschenbroek, working in Holland in the early part of the 18th century, achieved his effect of motion by fitting two panels of slides into the same lantern for simultaneous projection. One

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