Schöner Artikel und Interview mit Sammler Dick Balzer auf Collectors Weekly über optische Spielereien und die Vorläufer von Animation und Film von Phenakistascopes bis Zoetropes. Unbedingt auch auf Balzers Website gehen, da gibt's noch haufenweise mehr von dem Kram.
Thaumatropes from the early 1800s are perhaps the first optical toys to suggest how tantalizing moving pictures could be. In 1825, a London physician named John Ayston Paris produced a set of six paper cards, which were packed in a round container and sold as a “Thaumatropical Amusement.” The label on the container made the toy’s educational and scientific purpose explicit: “To illustrate the seeming paradox of seeing an object which is out of sight and to demonstrate the faculty of the retina of the eye to retain the impression of an object after its disappearance.”
What Dr. Paris and others were trying to demonstrate was the theory of persistence of vision, which held that because the eye could retain an image for a fleeting period of time (or so it was thought), that image would fill the gap between it and the next one the eye encountered. Thus, persistence of vision seemed to explain how objects or figures in a sequence of static photographs could appear to be moving or animated when that sequence was viewed at high speed.