A 120-Year-Old Animation Machine That Can Play Your Favorite GIFs

Way back in 1894, an inventor named Herman Casler started a business making Mutoscopes, a newfangled device that animated still images using a hand-cranked winch. Casler probably never imagined that a version of his device would be used to animate digital files. Behold: The Giphoscope.

Italian design studio Officina K dusted off and rethought Casler's invention earlier this year. At its core, the Giphoscope is still basically the same device: An aluminum ring that holds several hundred still photos, which can be ranked in a revolution using a small handle. Only in this case, the images themselves are derived from GIFs, rather than early photographs.

There are two ways to get your grubby hands on one of these things: You can order one from Officina K's collection (Public Domain Review also has some fun Muybridge and Edison ones for sale), or you can commission them to make one based on a GIF you supply yourself.

The only bummer is that they are—predictably—very expensive, since they're being marketed as one-of-a-kind art objects. But, if you're handy, access to a cheap printer and an old rolodex would probably do in a pinch. [The Giphoscope via @nicolatwilley]

A 120-Year-Old Animation Machine That Can Play Your Favorite GIFs