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Flick Book - 'Cinematograph Living Pictures', Blacksmith Hammering, circa 1920 Object Reg. No: HT 25045

Flick book, produced in Germany, showing a simple animation of a blacksmith hammering on an anvil. The flick book is made up of a number of pages, each having a related but slightly different static image drawn on them, which together record a sequence of movement. To create the animation the flick book is held in one hand, the thumb of the other hand flicks the pages in sequence, allowing the viewer to see each page in rapid succession.

While there is no exact date for the invention of the flick book, the first known patent was filed in Britain on 18th March 1868. John Barnes Linnett, a printer in Birmingham, put forward 'The Kineograph a new optical illusion'.

The flick book was part of a range of popular philosophical or optical toys created in the 19th century. Like the flick book, most attempted to create the illusion of movement using a series of static images.The flick book had its height of popularity at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, it is however still produced to this day. It has been known under a variety of names; flick, or flicker book in Britain, flip book in the US, Daumenkino (thumb cinema) in Germany and Kineograph, Cinema de poche (pocket cinema) in France. Many other less common names were also used.

This flick book is part of the Francis Collection of pre-cinematic apparatus and ephemera, acquired by the Australian and Victorian Governments in 1975. David Francis was the curator of the National Film and Sound Archive of the British Film Institute as well as being a co-founder of the Museum of the Moving Image in London, which was operational between 1988 and 1999.
Flick book of 26 pages, made of heavy paper. Images printed in black. Metal staple along left lateral margin.
Acquisition Information:
Loan & Subsequent Donation from Australian Film Institute (AFI)
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 40 mm (Height), 54 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: pre-cinema moving images, animation, optical toys, optical illusion devices
Themes this item is part of: Francis Collection, Images & Image Making Collection, Leisure Collection
Primary Classification: RECREATION & TOURISM
Secondary Classification: Amusements
Tertiary Classification: optical devices
Inscriptions: On cover: 'Cinematograph/LIVING PICTURES'
Left lateral margin of cover: 'Germany'
Collector: Mr David Francis, London, Middlesex, England, Great Britain, 1990
Patentee: Mr John Linnett, England, Great Britain, 1868

First known British patentee of the flickbook.
Place & Date Made: Germany, circa 1920
Accessed 11 May 2010

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