Phree Phantasmoscope

phenakHorseMuyb

Queensland Figaro, 14 July 1883. (National Library of Australia. Creative Commons)

Source: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article83677612

It’s 1883, you’re editor of the Queeensland Figaro, and looking around for a space filler. An old issue of the Scientific American is on a shelf by your desk. In the Supplement there’s a pretty cutout toy of a phenakistiscope (they call it a Phantasmoscope) with silhouettes of a Muybridge horse trotting endlessly. Snip out the piece, and paste it into your next issue. Better still, create an advert for your newspaper in a circle, and paste that in the middle. ‘Weekly, Wisely, & Wittily … 12/- a year in advance.’

phenakHorse4

Then every time one of these magic discs that your readers have cut out and pasted onto cardboard is handed to a friend to enjoy, they’ll read the advert and rush out and buy the paper, or better still subscribe. Brilliant, and all for free, courtesy Scientific American.

And the best bit is, 130 years later, it’s still for free, courtesy of that excellent resource, the National Library of Australia’s TROVE.

More about these paper discs, here.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

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