index‎ > ‎GLOSSARY‎ > ‎



an animation device, using a strip of pictures around the inner surface of a spinning cylinder and an inner circle of mirrors reflecting the pictures as the wheel is turned.

Extended Definition


Study Guide & References



The praxinoscope, invented in 1877 by the Frenchman Charles Reynaud, was the first device to overcome the picture distortion caused by viewing through moving slots. The image produced is more brilliant than with any previous devices. Because of this advance, it quickly replaced the zoetrope in popularity.

How it works:

A band of pictures is placed inside a shallow outer cylinder, so that each picture is reflected by the inner set of mirrors. The number of mirrors is equal to the number of pictures, and the images of the pictures are viewed in the mirrors. When the outer cylinder rotates, the quick succession of reflected pictures gives the illusion of a moving picture.

800px-Theatreoptique.jpgWhat became of it:

The praxinoscope offered a clearer, brighter image to viewers than the previous zoetropecould.

A standard praxinoscope, like the one above, can only accommodate a second or two of animation because of the limited number of pictures it contains. So In 1889 Reynaud developed the Théâtre Optique, an improved version capable of projecting images on a screen from a longer roll of pictures. This allowed him to show hand-drawn animated cartoons to larger audiences.

However, this was soon eclipsed in popularity by the photographic film projector of the Lumière brothers.
Then In 1889, George Eastman invented flexible photographic film, which allowed a lot of film to be held on one reel.