Zoetrope Invented by William George Horner
William George Horner, an English mathematician and educator, born in 1786 in Bristol, England, made a significant contribution to the field of optical entertainment through the invention of the zoetrope.
In 1834, Horner invented the zoetrope, which he originally named the "Daedalum" or "Daedatelum." His invention came at a time of significant interest in optical toys and devices that demonstrated the illusion of motion.
The zoetrope is a cylindrical device with slits cut vertically in the sides. Inside the cylinder, a strip of sequential images is placed. When the cylinder is spun and viewed through the slits, the images appear to move, creating an animated effect. This exploits the phenomenon known as persistence of vision.
The zoetrope wasn't immediately popular during Horner's time. Its popularity soared later in the 1860s when it was marketed as a toy by American inventor William F. Lincoln, who also coined the name "zoetrope," meaning "wheel of life."
Horner's zoetrope was a crucial step in the development of motion pictures. It helped to lay the groundwork for the future of animation and film, demonstrating how still images could be made to appear as if they were moving.
Despite the significant role of his invention in the history of cinema, Horner's contribution was often overshadowed by his achievements in mathematics. He is not as prominently remembered as other pioneers in the field of motion pictures. Horner passed away in 1837, just a few years after inventing the zoetrope. It was only much later that the significance of his invention in the context of film history was fully appreciated.
His invention of the zoetrope was a pivotal development in the early history of animated entertainment and the motion picture industry.
The zoetrope became popular in the late 19th century. It was primarily a novelty item, offering a fascinating glimpse into the possibilities of motion representation. Its principle demonstrated the persistence of vision, where multiple images blend into a single image in the human mind.