The first kaleidoscope came into being in 1815, the brainchild of Sir David Brewster. A native of Scotland, Sir David was what we would call an optical physicist, though no such term was in use at the time. A very learned man, he conducted some early inquiries into the properties of lenses and prisms and wrote on the refraction of light, contributing articles to the Encyclopedia Britannica on these and other scientific subjects. He also helped in the development of the camera.
Sadly, Sir David wasn’t much of a businessman. He didn’t get around to patenting his kaleidoscope for a couple of years, by which time manufacturers in Europe and the US had copied his design. Sir David’s invention was a massive success; two hundred thousand kaleidoscopes were sold in just three months, with no financial benefit to Brewster.
At the time, the kaleidoscope was thought of as a “philosophical instrument.” In its color, symmetry and variety, you were expected to admire the hand of the Creator and meditate on His wonders. All well-to-do households in Britain and America had the best kaleidoscope they could afford. Made with the care lavished on scientific instruments, they were expensive, costing a dollar each, in an era when an ordinary working man might be paid 50£ a year. Early kaleidoscopes were emphatically not toys for children. They retained their luxury status for decades, until the introduction of the parlor gramophone and other home entertainments. After that, the making of optically fine ‘scopes went into decline until the modern revival, with the advent of the Brewster Society in the 1980s.
Photo of Californiascope kaleidoscope, a giant working kaleidoscope by Harmon Nelson, Vicki Leon, and Steve Riggs, San Diego Harbor.
Attribution: Billwhittaker at en.wikipedia
Unusual Christmas Gift: Kaleidoscope. Looking for something they are not likely to receive from another? Something that is creative, beautiful, timeless AND fun?! Kaleidoscopes are candy for the eye, a great gift for so many people.
Our extraordinary kaleidoscopes are handcrafted in the USA by talented artist and craftspeople.
They are made from a variety of materials: glass, wood, metal, leather and more, in styles that range from sleek and contemporary, to traditional… to far out and funky!
The object chamber sometimes holds oil or beads or glass or other items. The type and kind of reflective mirrors also influence the view seen through the scope. There are so many variables… and that’s what makes this such a great gift!
Scopes can be passed around at the office, at home, at parties and more. They are fun, interactive and only a very few require batteries! Most run on human power and human imagination.
So come take a journey of light and color with kaleidoscopes from KaleidoscopeUSA. A great gift for so many creatives on your shopping list.
Like the colorful prism of a kaleidoscope, this pizzeria offers new flavors, wines and microbrewed beer. Kaleidoscope, a pizzeria in Southern Oregon, features gourmet, stone-baked pizza and a variety of other menu items made fresh daily. Continue reading Kaleidoscope Pizzaria
The Kaleidoscope Fidget Factor: Some of us like to peacefully, passively view our lovely kaleidoscopes and some of us like to fiddle with them.
A master of the interactive kaleidoscope is Sheryl Koch, whose “Jubilee” has three interchangeable wheels, one with Tiffany-method stained glass in rainbow colors, one with thin slices of natural agate in lovely earth tones and a third with unique colored beads that move to create stunning images as you rotate the wheels. When they’re not in use, the wheels attach to the polished cherry wood base, making a great looking display piece.
The “Eye Pod,” by always-inventive David Kalish, lets you change the objects you view. The objective chamber, the “Pod”, is held in place by two tiny magnets; you can open the Pod and try out different objects. The kaleidoscope comes with a collection of brightly colored items but it’s also great fun to try your own, flower petals, M&Ms, uncooked macaroni, small pieces of jewelry. Sometimes, simple things can produce spectacular images. (Note: this is not a kaleidoscope for little hands.)
Beyond unique, “Feather and Leather” by Carol and Thomas Paretti, has small, colorful feathers in its viewing chamber. When you squeeze the attached perfume atomizer bulb, a puff of air sends the feathers flying, making a series of startlingly beautiful images.
Great Wedding Gift: Hand Crafted Kaleidoscopes
Hand crafted kaleidoscopes make great wedding gifts.
They are unique. Would you prefer not to give the couple cash or an appliance from a registry? Bring a hand crafted kaleidoscope to the party. The couple will appreciate the thought you put into this gift.
Hand crafted kaleidoscopes are something the couple can play with together for years! The Wedding Scope Brass by David Kalish is another great wedding gift idea. It allows two people to gaze into different ends at the same time- seeing different images of the same objects.
Whichever hand crafted kaleidoscope you choose, it will be a special, memorable wedding gift.