DR. PARIS' TOY
An English physician, Dr. Paris, invents the Thaumatrope, a simple device which creates the illusion of motion by having one part of a picture on one side of a disk and the other on the reverse side--Scientific instrument and child's plaything.
DURING THE period which followed the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, there appeared, first in London and later in Paris and elsewhere, a small cardboard toy which was at once the plaything of children and a scientific curiosity which illustrated in a startling way the illusion of the persistence of vision. This toy was the Thaumatrope.
The name Thaumatrope means "wonder-turner" (a word reminiscent of one of Kircher's titles for the magic shadow projection art --thaumaturga). The Thaumatrope is a small disk with one image on the face and another on the back. Two short threads or bits of string are attached to the disk. The Thaumatrope's effects are observed by twirling the disk. The eye, as in the case of motion pictures, does not distinguish the separate pictures on each side of the disk but only the one, combined impression.
A variation of the Thaumatrope, however, came even closer to the motion picture idea--the two ends of cord were not set opposite each other, which resulted in an irregular motion and an additional illusion.
John Ayrton Paris ( 1785-1856), an English doctor, has the best claim to the invention of the Thaumatrope. At any rate, he