I’ve been very pleased in recent years to see the success of products designed and produced by Rufus Butler Seder, whose whole life has revolved around animated optical wizardry. His enthusiasm and knowledge have paid off with the amazing sales of the Gallop! Swing! and Waddle! books – top of the New York Times children’s book bestseller lists, and now available in many languages.
I’ve included this toy on my “exclusively Muybridge” blog because galloping horses and other Muybridge-type sequences have been a feature of many of Rufus’s artworks and products, and the Strobotop is no exception.
A few years ago I wrote an extensive biography of this ingenious and meticulous inventor of moving image devices and techniques, The Optically Animated Artwork of Rufus Butler Seder, which can be downloaded here: Seder Biog
Strobotop LighhtPhase Animator
Rufus brings the wonder of 19th-century philosophical toys into the 21st century. His latest RetroTech product, which I’ve now been able to test, is the Strobotop LightPhase Animator. It’s a phenakistiscope with a difference – no slots, instead a pulsating led-illuminator to make the pictures appear to move. There has been at least one other attempt to produce a similar toy, but it was flawed and not a success. With its smart design, modern attractive packaging, and quality manufacturing, the Strobotop is sure to be a sales hit. Once again, Rufus has got it right.
Booster Pack with 18 extra discs
The Strobotop™ is similar to the zoetrope, praxinoscope, and phenakistiscope in that it uses a spinning disk with a series of images arrange in a circle around it. But to see the images come to life, instead of viewing them through slots or in mirrors, the Strobotop’s handheld LightPhase Animator enables you to “freeze” each image with rapidly-flickering short pulses of light, like a flashbulb taking a crystal clear picture of each image as it speeds by, one right after the other. As you adjust the dial, the rate of light flicker changes. When the rate of flicker matches the rate of the images spinning by on the disk, the succession of images, delivered to your eye in rapid succession, creates the illusion of motion.
Eye Think, Inc.
39 Emerson Road
Waltham, MA 02451
Spin the Strobotop™, aim your LightPhaser at it, and adjust the dial. Suddenly, the blurring images snap into focus and spring to life before your eyes! Animals leap and gallop. Children run and play. Kaleidoscopic patterns move and change. Swap out Strobodisks™ at will: each is more amazing than the last!
The heavy plastic ‘platter’ spins for around a minute, plenty of time to experiment with different settings on the LightPhaser. The various picture discs available range from geometric designs reminiscent of the old phenakistiscope of the 1830s, to modern cartoons, and animated animals.
Posted here by Stephen Herbert