Arcade Mutoscope, circa 1900
In an earlier article, I wrote about toy Magic Lanterns (see: "Toy Magic Lanterns; a 19th century high tech toy"). They were an early precursor to movies, using light projected from a kerosene wick to illuminate images. In this article I want to consider the Mutoscope, another ancestor to the movies, which mechanically flipped cards to show a moving picture show.
We are today familiar with the concept through "flip books". With a flip book, you can create your own cartoon show by drawing a character in slightly shifting poses on a pad of paper. By flicking the pages off of the finger tips, a moving picture emerges. That is essentially how a Mutoscope functioned albeit using a crank to turn the pictures.
Like all technology, the Mutoscope eventually ended up as a toy. Its such a simple idea, its surprising no one has brought it back.
Playland Toy Mutoscope by Admiral, circa 1950's
Toy Mutoscope, Irwin, circa 1950's
Art Nouveau Mutoscope, circa 1900
Disney Licensed, cardboard Mutoscope that appears to be a promotion by Pepsodent toothpaste