The History of the Kaleidoscope.

What is kaleidoscope?

Definition of kaleidoscope;

-1.  Kaleidoscope
a tubular optical instrument in which loose bits of coloured glass at the end of the tube are reflected in mirrors so as to display ever-changing symmetrical patterns as the tube is rotated.

-2.  Kaleidoscope
a continually shifting pattern, scene, or the like.

I was genuinely interested why the theme for the digital project was ‘kaleidoscope’ I just thought it was too simple, as I know hundreds of ways to create this from Photoshop. But I think within an creative perspective, it would really work well for the Cardiff School Of Management

Where did it come from?

In 1816, the kaleidoscope was invented by Scottish scientist, Sir David Brewster, and patented by him in 1817 (GB 4136).David Brewster named his invention after the Greek words, kalos or beautiful, eidos or form, and scopos or watcher. So kaleidoscope means the beautiful form watcher.Brewster’s kaleidoscope was a tube containing loose pieces of colored glass and other pretty objects, reflected by mirrors or glass lenses set at angles, that created patterns when viewed through the end of the tube.

How does it work?

The kaleidoscope creates reflections of reflections of a direct view of the objects at the end. The image will be symmetrical if the mirror angle is an even divider of 360 degrees. A mirror set at 60 degrees will generate a pattern of six regular sectors. A mirror angle at 45 degrees will make eight equal sectors, and an angle of 30 degrees will make twelve. The lines and colors of simple shapes are multiplied by the mirrors into a visually stimulating vortex.

How can it be used within art?

Kaleidoscopes were used in the textile industry (very helpful to me, may I add) for the designs of repeat patterns. Which are used now within not just Textiles but many other art forms. Since then kaleidoscopes have developed considerably into an exciting and highly collectable art form.

(Nothing but writing for my own personal project!)


About cerysjames

A 19 year old Textile Design student studying in Cardiff! I decided to start up a blog as a diary for all things textile! Mostly inspiration and exhibitions I've been too. My favourite things are printing and having a big imagination!

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