A praxinoscope powered by a miniature hot air engine.
|Praxinoscope from the collection of Mel Birnkrant|
The moving figures combine with a background, and they seem to float in 3D space. No shutter, eyepiece, or set of slots is required.
In 1888, Charles-Émile Reynaud took this idea to the next level with his Théâtre Optique (Optical Theater).
The device used 36 mirrors, with longer strips of images that went beyond simple cycles. The images were illuminated with an electric lamp — invented just a few years earlier by Thomas Edison.
Reynaud also figured out how to project the images on a screen so that an audience could watch the show, making Reynaud truly the father of animated film technology.
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More about the origins of animation at collector Mel Birnkrant's website