film history meme • invention - Praxinoscope by Émile Reynaud
Charles-Émile Reynaud was a French science teacher, responsible for the first projected animated cartoon films. Reynaud created the Praxinoscope in 1877.
The mirror-drum and cylinder were set in a wooden box in which there was a glass-covered viewing aperture, reflecting a card printed with a background. The moving subjects - a juggler, clowns, a steeple-chase - were printed on a black band, and thus appeared superimposed on a suitable scene. A further development was the Projection Praxinoscope which used a series of transparent pictures on glass; an oil lamp illuminated the images and the mirror reflections passed through a lens onto a screen.
In time, his audience grew thinner at the Théâtre Optique, where his works were shown. In financial despair, and destitute, due to the new filming methods brought on by the Cinematograph, he threw most of his great works and unique equipment into the Seine.