The Thaumatrope is a Victorian toy constructed from a simple disk or card featuring a different picture on each side and attached to two pieces of string. When the strings are twirled rapidly the card rotates on its axis and the two images appear to combine.

Invented by John Ayrton Paris (1785-1856), an English physician, in 1825, the Thaumatrope was the first instrument to exploit the persistence of images on the retina.

Paris’s Philosophy in sport made science in earnest, first published in 1827, expounded his belief that scientific learning in children could be stimulated through a combination of amusement and instruction, using demonstrational toys such as the Thaumatrope.

Introduction | Phenakistiscope | Thaumatrope | Zoetrope | Choreutoscope | Praxinoscope | Flip Books