In researching for this post, I wandered through my Family Creative Workshop, which is a 24-volume set of craft books done around the late seventies/early eighties. I wish there was a website or community who liked these books, because they have so many neat crafts in them.
Of course, after I got my topic, I remembered “zig zag lace,” but by then I was fascinated by zoetropes and it was too late. A zoetrope is an early form of animation, a way to make moving pictures. If you’ve seen Johnny Depp in Sleepy Hollow, he has a lovely little zoetrope on a string that, when twirled, shows a bird in a cage and then free from it.
According to Random Motion, they were invented in 1834 but didn’t come to the States until 1867 – after the American Civil War. They were named zoetrope by the French inventor Pierre Desvignes. The thing I find fascinating about science from this time is how citizen-science it is – anyone can make a zoetrope. In present day, we’re returning to that democratization with software and open-source movements; people can now make animations and movies with relatively inexpensive equipment. It’s interesting how we’ve come nearly full-circle.