Kaleidoscopes and Crystals


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A productivist attitude loomed in the background. The external reality that was optically filtered into the tube was meant to be relayed back to the outside world in the form of sketches for patterned fabrics and architectural ornaments.

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At the time Brewster was an independent agent without a permanent institutional teaching or research position. He supported his growing family mostly by his copious journalism; new sources of income were needed. As a natural philosopher he was active, but still a semi-amateur. Yet, he was craving for recognition as a scientist within the booming intellectual circles of Edinburgh.

Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. Brewster told his own version in A Treatise on the Kaleidoscope :. The sensation excited in London by this premature exhibition of its effects is incapable of description, and can be conceived only by those who witnessed it.

It may be sufficient to remark, that, according to the computation of those who were best able to form an opinion on the subject, no fewer than two hundred thousand instruments have been sold in London and Paris during three months. Out of this immense number there is perhaps not one thousand constructed upon scientific principles, and capable of giving any thing like a correct idea of the power of the Kaleidoscope; and of the millions who have witnessed its effects, there is perhaps not an hundred who have any idea of the principles upon which it is constructed, who are capable of distinguishing the spurious from the real instrument, or who have sufficient knowledge of its principles for applying it to the numerous branches of the useful and ornamental arts Still, as we will see, there is no doubt that the Kaleidoscope gained almost instantaneous attention, and became a fad that spread far and wide.

It was soon claimed that the Kaleidoscope was not an original invention at all, but rather an adaptation of principles introduced by others, and known for a long time. As early as an obscure inventor named E. Professor of Botany to the University of Cambridge It consisted of two flat mirrors attached by hinges. He noted this in a paragraph inconspicuously added to the end of the tract; the price list had not been forgotten He promoted the Kaleidoscope as a precision instrument, a product of advanced natural philosophy. It was not a humble toy, concocted just to astonish and amuse.

Excluding the Kaleidoscope feels like a calculated act of academic self-protection. Internet-era citizens might be surprised to find out how quickly the news spread in a world limited to letter writing, print media, and traditional means of transportation.

Kaleidoscope Vectors, Photos & PSD

It had been written by Julius Conrad von Yelin, a doctor of philosophy Weltweisheit , a member of the Royal Bavarian Academy of Sciences, and keeper of the mathematico-physical cabinet of the Bavarian court. He had been following the on-going international debate in minute detail and was therefore able to put together a substantiated Bavarian claim for the invention.

It used three prismatically connected inward-facing mirrors to create continuous reflections of transparent pictures. The concerns were real. The device may have been a mechanical special effect lantern slide for the massive Fantascope projector he used in his shows. As early as March , A. One cannot help wondering about the rapidity with which the patents were granted within a few weeks from each other.

External factors, such as personal relationships, and possibly money, may have contributed. It was evident that an economic opportunity was knocking. Politics may have played a role, too. The defeat of Napoleon in Waterloo was a recent event, but the influx of people, ideas and commodities across borders had already intensified. Appropriating a novelty from a former enemy was lucrative; pretending that it was a French invention may have served the recovery of national self-esteem.

The transforming views inside the picture tube were both a delightful novelty and a way of immersing oneself into another realm for a moment — an escapist pastime. Contempories were aware of it, and commented on it in articles, poems, and illustrations. Many poems were written to praise the new instrument. In France several satirical prints were published about the Kaleidoscomanie.

One of them shows a fashionable lady peeking into the tube, while her smartly dressed partner looks over. The scene takes place at the Cour des Fontaines of the Palais Royal, a well-known pastime venue open for all Parisiens. Like the previous one, it includes a scene, where a husband is peeking into a kaleidoscope, only to be deceived by a man caressing his wife behind his back. It became a topos that was often evoked when new media devices were introduced, and still keeps appearing.

The mania seems to have been intense, but it was short-lived. By it was noted that the Kaleidoscope had gone out of fashion It may seem like a superfluous toy, a manifestation of folk art of earlier simpler times, and an entity out of touch with high tech media culture. Still, it could be claimed that its influence has not been insignificant; it has influenced other media spectacles and the cultural imagination in countless ways. The presence of the kaleidoscope in contemporary culture may be more extensive than ever before — an enormous topic waiting to be explored in full.

This reminds us that identifying visual media culture with screen-based media only would limit its range.


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5mm Round Kaleidoscope™ Peach Montana Sapphires

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Crystali Glass Kaleidoscope by Sue Rioux

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Contact the seller - opens in a new window or tab and request a shipping method to your location. Shipping cost cannot be calculated. Please enter a valid ZIP Code. Shipping to: Worldwide. No additional import charges at delivery! This item will be shipped through the Global Shipping Program and includes international tracking. Common symbolic meanings include renewal and a positive life force.

Dragonflies can represent a sense of self that comes with age and maturity. Also, as a creature of the wind, the dragonfly often represents change and rebirth.


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  5. Because a dragonfly lives such a short life, it must live its life to the fullest, which is a lesson we each need to learn. Dragonflies are often seen as symbols of courage, strength, joy and light. Some Native traditions believe them to be the souls of those who have crossed over.

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