Double Down: The Grandaddy Of The GIF
October 23rd, 2013
We really love animated GIFs — you know, Graphics Interchange Format. This is probably our favorite one ever (of all time) because it features three things to which we’re partial: Barry, Beyoncé, and pizza. Like most things relating to the Internet, we figured GIFs had been around since the 70s or 80s, but we recently found out — in a sense — they’ve been entertaining for far longer than that.
According to the Good People over at This Is Colossal, a Belgian physicist by the name of Joseph Plateau was sharing short animations with folks some 155 years before anyone turned them into 1s and 0s. Instead of computers or flipping pages, he invented something called the Phenakistoscope:
The phenakistoscope used a spinning disc attached vertically to a handle. Arrayed around the disc’s center were a series of drawings showing phases of the animation, and cut through it were a series of equally spaced radial slits. The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the disc’s reflection in a mirror. The scanning of the slits across the reflected images kept them from simply blurring together, so that the user would see a rapid succession of images that appeared to be a single moving picture.
Two extraordinary examples are featured here and many more are available at the source.
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