joseph phenakistoscope-7 phenakistoscope-4 phenakistoscope-2Images created by the Phenakistoscope or ‘Fantascope’ – the first mechanical animation device – invented in 1829 by Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau 158 years before Compuserve introduced the world’s first Graphics Interchange Format image in 1987.

In later life, poor Joseph (top left) stared into the sun for 25 seconds to demonstrate the persistence of luminous impressions on the retina and ended up completely blind.

There’s a lesson there for us all.

MORE: an extensive collection of phenakistoscope images archived at The Richard Balzer Collection tumblr.

(Pic: Wikimedia Commons)

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