Below is a brief introduction to the early history of animation, as described by E.G. Lutz in his book, Animated Cartoons- How They are Made, Their Origin and Development.
1. Persistence of Vision:
Positive After-images– When an image quickly moves out of field of vision, but an afterimage briefly remains behind.
Negative After-images– When you look at a bright pattern, then look at a white/blank background and continue to briefly see that pattern of a “complementary color to the original.”
2. Thaumatrope (1824)
-Invented by John Ayton Paris, British physician, in 1824 and talked about this invention in a book he published in 1827.
-First commercial thaumatrope sold on April 2, 1825.
-First thaumatropes typically contained riddles, in addition to pictures, with half of the riddle written on each side.
-Originally expensive- About a week’s pay for a box of 12-18 thaumatropes, until knock-offs were made for much cheaper.
-The invention was a cardboard circle with 2 holes on opposite sides and an image drawn on either side of the disc. Strings are threaded through the two holes on left and right ends. You twirl the string with your fingers, then when you let go, it spins rapidly and makes a single image between the two sides (positive after-images)
–Bird (Parrot) + Cage (See Image Below)
–3-D image of the word, “Victoria” by writing it on both sides of the disc. The thickness of the disc helped add a gap to the letters that gave the illusion of a 3-Dimensional image.
- Faraday’s Wheel (1824/1830)
-First described by Peter Mark Roget in the 1824 article, Explanation of an optical deception in the appearance of the spokes of a wheel when seen through vertical aperatures.
–Joseph Plateau published an article in 1828 on the subject, Correspondance Mathematique et Physique.
–Michael Faraday– English scientist who studied electromagnetism and electrochemistry and developed concept of electromagnetic field. He also used electromagnetic rotation to develop inventions, like his wheel.
-The invention was 2 cogs/gears with gaps at regular intervals (similar to a bicycle tire) turn in opposing directions at the same speed. If you looked past the first spinning part to the farthest one, it appeared to not be moving. A static image was on the second gear, which was seen without any blur.
-Instead of having two gears, the same effect worked with just one gear placed in front of a mirror (look past the gear to the mirror). This would be a precursor to the phenakistoscope.