Item Details

Mid Victorian Parlour Kaleidoscope on Stand

Ref# cacf-4849
A mid-Victorian parlour kaleidoscope on stand.

This stunning Victorian instrument is constructed from a hardboard tube with shagreen type detailing to the body and a wood and brass sectioned eyepiece and objective end. The objective end has brass spokes attached to the outer rim in order to allow for the circular hand operation. Inside the objective cell are contained numerous liquid filled glass ampules, glass canes and various metal pieces which form the kaleidoscope effect when viewed through the eyepiece and next to a light source. The kaleidoscope is complete on its original turned mahogany stand.

The kaleidoscope was invented in 1816 by the physicist, Sir David Brewster with a patent granted to him in 1817, however he was to see little financial benefit from the invention as many were produced prior to him being awarded the rights. Undeterred by the issue, Brewster went on to release a book named, “The Kaleidoscope, its history, theory & construction with its application to the fine and useful arts” in 1819. Known for other scientific endeavours, Brewster also provided improvements for the stereoscope and was knighted by William IV for his contributions to science.

This particular example is unmarked but is almost identical to those that were produced in the US by Prussian born Charles G Bush in the early 1870’s. Bush is the credited with the next stage in the development of the kaleidoscope by introducing glass liquid filled ampules into the objective cell, however these were originally mentioned by Brewster in his treatise on the instrument. Nevertheless, it is these instruments that are the most highly prized for their vivid images and are what Bush was famed for producing. This particular example follows all of the same production methods of a Bush instrument however it does not contain his signature to the side so it is likely that this is an English version created by a competitor during the period.

A lovely example in superb order which maintains good colour and vibrancy to the internal image.

Price: £1295