Viewers (1 of 1)- PennyMachines MUSEUM
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What the Butler Saw
I DON'T CARE FOR PIERROT SHOWS - - I PREFER THE PICTURES.
Museum

Viewers

Coin-operated viewers were the product of three technological "miracles" of the 19th century. Images of people and their world were captured by machine for the first time (photography); they were given the illusion of depth (stereoscopy) and, finally, the illusion of movement (cinematography). Coin-freed motion picture devices and 3D viewers first appeared around the late 1880s, but Edison and Dickson's Kinetoscope (1892) enjoyed only a brief vogue on account of its fragile and volatile film stock. Herman Cassler's Mutoscope (1895) with its robust flick-book design was better suited to the rigours of public life and proved much more enduring. Early machines provided curious customers with novel views from exotic, far-away places and were usually edifying or educational. Soon, however, by pandering to (though rarely fulfilling) more basic appetites, they caught the eye of the censors.

 

Live Peep-Show

Live Peep-Show

A penny inserted started an oil valve timer switch which illuminated "A LILLIPUTIAN CITY THAT STANDS UNSURPASSED". Although it displayed three dimensional images in motion, it owed nothing to stereoscopic or cinematic technologies. Instead, the operator was provided with detailed instructions for the care and feeding of a small colony of live ants imprisoned within the machine.

Release the prisoners

Bryans Works, 1936

Charlie

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Automatic Stereoscope

Automatic Stereoscope

 

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