Kaleidoscope is an optical instrument with two or more reflecting surfaces tilted to each other at an angle, so that one or more objects on one end of the mirrors are seen as a regular symmetrical pattern when viewed from the other end, owing to repeated reflection. The mirrors are often inside a tube, containing on one end a cell with loose, coloured pieces of glass or other transparent materials to be reflected into the viewed pattern. Rotation of the cell causes motion of the materials, which results in the eye-catching effect that akaleidoscope is known for!
Have you ever wondered who invented this amazing object? It was invented in 1816 by Scottish inventor named SirDavid Brewster. He was studying several aspects of Physical Sciences including polarization optics and the properties of light. While looking at some objects at the end of two mirrors, he happened to noticethat striking patterns and colours were recreated and reformed into stunning new arrangements. He named this new invention of his after Greek words that meant beautiful form watcher.
He patented his idea in the year 1817 but it seems an incorrectly worded patent made it easy for others to copy it without much in the way of legal recourse. Many inventors were aggressive in mass producing this new art form as well.
Not only did Sir David Brewster invent the kaleidoscope, but he was also instrumental in many light and optical advances including a lens design for lighthouses and he even made advances in stereoscope designs in 1849.
During the Victorian period, kaleidoscopes became a very popular thing. Charles Bush was a very famousUS kaleidoscope-maker during the 1870s for his parlour kaleidoscope. He patented his idea in 1873 and collectors till date search for this particular kaleidoscope.
There was a renaissance in Kaleidoscope artistry from late 1970s. The first exhibition of kaleidoscopes held in 1980 helped fuel the interest in kaleidoscopes as an art form. Today, there are plenty of great kaleidoscope artists and kaleidoscope makers.
If you belong to the baby boomer generation, it is likely that you received a toy kaleidoscope as a giftwhen you were a kid.
Hope you found this information on kaleidscope, its origin and history interesting. Watch this space for more such interesting and colourful stories!