Kaleidoscope Types

Kaleidoscope Types: Click to expand information on the basic types of scopes.

There is no endpiece containing color, only a clear lens that turns everything it is pointed toward into a kaleidoscopic image. Brewster referred to the teleidoscope as the purest form of a kaleidoscope, because the viewer is not limited by the objects in an endpiece. Rather, the whole world becomes his kaleidoscope. It’s been said that the ultimate value of the teleidoscope is the potential each viewer has to see the artistic value in his own environment.

Most teleidoscopes contain a simple equilateral three-mirror arrangement. However, every mirror system used in a standard kaleidoscope can also be used in a teleidoscope.

The endpiece is an enclosed case containing colored objects (also called object case or chamber). Cells can be: dry-filled with tumbling pieces (front or side-lit); liquid-filled with floating pieces (front or side-lit); polarized light material and filters; empty to allow personal choice of items; tubes-elongated clear case with floating items in liquid.

There are more cell scopes than any other type. The many moving pieces provide the most varied and nonrepetitive imagery. There is also more variety in the cell itself. clear, frosted, or etched; recessed, flush, or protruding; black backdrop, side-lit; and liquid-filled.

One, two, or more wheels comprise the endpiece. Wheels can be: fixed or hollow cylinders; carousels or turntables. Wheel scopes have become much more exciting with the inclusion of more pieces of different kinds and shapes of glass arranged in a variety of patterns.

Spinning cylinders are a variation of traditional wheels. Some contain a small liquid-filled cylinder within a larger cylinder composed of glass, crystals, and other objects. As the name implies, a carousel or turntable is a continuously revolving or rotating conveyor or stand on which items are placed. It can be either permanently attached to the scope or a separate piece; as simple as a tray, or as ornate as a gem-encrusted gazebo.

Single or multiple marbles are used as objects. The first marble scopes were made by attaching a small marble to a simple three-mirror system. Since the imagery was repetitious, this type soon declined in popularity. But marble scopes are new again, with several of the artists making their own marbles and using many different mirror systems. Knowing just the right combination of elements to include in these hand-blown spheres can provide extraordinary viewing.”