The Overview

The Timeline

30 000 BCE - 30 000 years ago cavemen have a first try at re producing movement and playing with light.

30 000 BCE

3000 BCE - The Indian Harappan civilization use shadows, the Egyptians and Babylonians may have done so too.

3000 BCE

2055 BCE TO 1069 BCE - Egyptian artists of the Middle and New Kingdom show in their paintings successive phases of movement.

2055 BCE TO 1069 BCE

450 BCE AND 350 BCE - Mozi in China & Aristitotle in Greece observe inverted images when using some form
of pin-hole viewer.

450 BCE AND 350 BCE

113 AND 193 - The Romans build the Trajan and the Marcus Aurelius columns which show on spiral friezes victories in Roman wars.

113 AND 193
AROUND 1000 - I

AROUND 1000 - Ibn al-Haytham or Alhazen gives the first clear description of a complete camera obscura for viewing scenes from nature.

1064 TO 1066

1064 TO 1066 - The Bayeux Tapestry tells the story of the Norman invasion of England, it can be seen as the first Panorama.


1437 - Leon Batista Alberti devises an early form of peepshow viewer.

1658 - Christian Huygens is the first to describe a fully functioning magic lantern.


1671 - Athanasuis Kricher describes in his book Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae a simple type of Magic Lantern.


1730 - Martin Engelbrecht, a celebrated engraver starts publishing optical prints and peepshows.


1787 - Robert Barker invents a new form of entertainment the giant Panorama.

1790 - Etianne Gaspard Robertson develops a highly popular form of magic lantern, the Fantasmagoria.


1810 - The moving panorama takes this form of entertainment to a new level of popularity.


1815 - David Brewster invents the Kaleidoscope.


1822 - Louis Daguerre opens in Paris the first Diorama using huge translucent paintings.


1825 - John Ayrton Paris produces the Thaumatrope toy - two twirling pictures magically blend into one.


1826 - Nicephore Niepce creates the first permanently fixed photographic image taken with a camera.


1832 - Joseph Plateau and Simon Stampher independently invent the Phenakistiscope; peep-movie cartoons on a cardboard disc.


1834 - William George Horner describes the Daedaleum which develops into the Zoetrope.


1838 - Charles Wheatstone patents the Stereoscope
for '3D' pictures.

1866 - Lionel Smith Beale project simple moving images with his Choreutoscope mechanical magic lantern slides.


1871 - Thomas Ross patents his projection Phenakistiscope; the Wheel of Life, giving short cartoon movement on a screen.


1877 - Emile Reynaud patents a new improved Zoetrope with mirrors, the Praxinoscope.


1879 - Eadweard James Muybridge creates the  Zoopraxiscope projector: short animations on screen, traced from his photographic sequences.


1882 - Etienne Jules Marey introduces a new method of producing Chronographs on a single fixed plate.


1886 - Ottomar Anschutz introduces the Tachyscope peep viewer for photographic movement.


1893 - Thomas Edison holds the premier of his  Kinetoscope movie film peepshow.


1894 - Herman Castler patents the Mutoscope flip-photo viewer.


1895 - August and Louis Lumiere invent the Kinora (patented in 1896) flip-photo viewer for the home.


1895 - Several public, paid screening of films in the USA and in Germany, but they have limited impact.

1895 DECEMBER 28

1895 DECEMBER 28 - First commercial screening of films by the Lumiere brothers' Cinematographe - a great
success- the movies had really arrived!