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Object Name Zoetrope
Date 1864 copyright
Description "The Magic Wheel" optical toy. Printed inscription on box lid: "Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York, by C.B. CHRISTOPHER / THE MAGIC WHEEL / A BEAUTIFUL TOY / FOR CHILDREN. / DIRECTIONS. - Put the Thick Pasteboard on the pivot of the handle, with any one of th [illegible] cards set against it. Screw on the nut to fasten. / Then holding it with the hand opposite a mirror, turn the card rapidly with the other hand, looking through the holes into the mirror. The figures will all / appear in motion. / Manufactured and Sold by C.R. CHRISTOPHER, 98 Second Avenue, N.Y"
(Keyword: Victorian)
Acquisition From the Ward Estate
Ownership and History The Magic Wheel is an optical toy that demonstrated the persistence of vision, which is the eye's ability to retain an image for a brief moment after its disappearance. A child would spin the wheel and look through the slits at a mirror. As the wheel turned, the individual drawings gave the appearance of figures in continuous motion. It is similar to devices known as zoetropes or phenakistoscopes.

This toy belonged to the family of General William G. Ward, who served in the Civil War. The Ward family lived in a large estate called "Oneata" in the Grymes Hill area of Staten Island.
Earliest Date 1864
Latest Date 1870
Maker C.B. Christopher, 98 Second Avenue, NY
Subjects Toys
Lexicon Sub-category Toy
Catalog Number T04.0075
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Staten Island Historical Society, 2012.
Legal Status Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.