Images Infinite: Optical Toys, Now and Then

Primary tabs

If you take a telescope to the carnival, be watchful—it may turn into a kaleidoscope. This is what happened to many scientific instruments over the course of the nineteenth century. Stereoscopes, kaleidoscopes, praxinoscopes, and other devices with even more baroque names were physical manifestations of the popularization of science—or was it the carnivalization of science? We call such objects today “optical toys.” Many of the great authors of the nineteenth century wrote about their experience with such amusements (Baudelaire, Dickens, Twain), and these toys continue to serve as inspiration today. A new generation of makers have rethought these ludic devices, including students here at Georgia Tech. Everyone likes optical toys, now and then. So: come by and take a peep. Give them a spin. Play with them. Open now until April in the Georgia Tech Archives Reading Room.


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: sdykes3
  • Created: 03/05/2018
  • Modified By: sdykes3
  • Modified: 03/05/2018


No categories were selected.


No keywords were submitted.