The praxinoscope was invented by Emile Reynnaud in the late 19th century and it soon lost out to the Lumiere's invention of the cinematographe, the first film camera/projector. Reynaud's first version of this animation device used light from a magic lantern to project images refracted from a strip of drawings in a cylinder similar to a zoetrope. He improved on this by creating long strips of celluloid with painted animated images on it that could show more linear actions. The version of the praxinoscope I've been working with is based on Reynaud's early version in that it has a set of faceted mirrors, but as it makes use of a repurposed record turntable that supports a 12" disk of artwork, it also has elements of another early animation toy, the phenakistascope. The turntable praxinoscope is similar to the Red Raven one manufactured in the 1950s-60s. It included animated imagery on the label of a 78 rpm recording that was played on a record player. While listening to the recorded song, one could view the animation in a faceted mirror capped by a decorative top reminiscent of a carousel.

 How to make your own praxinoscope.

Toysmith Animation Praxinoscope

This praxinoscope is a small, lightweight device with a 10-sided faceted mirror for ages 8 and up (assembling may require adult assistance). It comes with pre-printed discs and blank ones that you can draw on yourself.

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Copyright Ruth Hayes 2011