Trompe-l’oeil ou les plaisirs de Jocko, French, ca. 1837. Discs: 2 1/2″ diam.; set contains 24 discs. Graphic Arts Collection, optical devices

A thaumatrope is a small paper disc with two strings on either side. Half of a picture is on the front and the other half on the back. When you spin it between your fingers, the pictures appear to merge and form a complete scene. The Graphic Arts collection has a French set from the early 1800s. Here are a few examples.


artist2         artist1


fox2          fox1


For a set of smoother animations, see the wonderful Richard Balzer tumbler or website: