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It is a toy that produces a false impression of action from a fast sequence of still pictures. Slits are cut vertically in the sides of a cylinder. A set of individual images, drawings or pictures arranged in a sequence are placed on a band below the slits. The cylinder is then rotated and the viewer is supposed to look through a slit that is on the opposite side of the cylinder. The slits are scanned in order to keep the images from merging together and cause a blur image. Thus, the viewer sees a rapid sequence of images creating the fantasy of motion that is the same as motion picture or modern day “movies”. Usually images viewed through cylindrical zoetrope’s are thinner than their actual size.


This device was invented in 1834 and was referred to as “Daedalum”. It was invented by a person named ‘William Horner’. But before this a device similar to that of “Daedalum” was mentioned in the book ‘The Mysteries of Nature and Science’ authored by ‘John Bate’ in the year 1634. It is said that the earliest zoetrope was invented in China by the creative discoverer ‘Ting Huan’. He made this invention in 180 AD. In modern times the device was promoted by ‘William F Lincoln’. The “praxinoscope” was the advanced version of the zoetrope. The “praxinoscope” became poplar in the 19th century. There are different types of devices similar to the zoetrope and can create the same effect. Some of these devices are Electrochyscope, flip book this version is very common and very simple and is also used by small school going children, Phenakistscope, Strobe light, Tachometer and Thaumatrope.

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