Matthew Battles over at Gear Fuse points out an amazing New York Times article from 1898 that lists some of the names people used to refer to emerging motion-picture technologies. They are just outstanding, for example: animaloscope, cinnomonograph, katoptiikum, lobsterscope, mutoscope, phenakistoscope, vivrescope, xograph. And they remind us that what we call the technologies we use is as contingent as the technologies themselves.
It's a vibrant lexical bestiary of images, actions, and ideals: time, light, vitality, movement, judgment, change, vision, epiphany, and the animal world. Although the writer of this piece talks about a single machine, these weren't all names for the same thing; moving pictures emerged in a radiant bouquet of formats, modes of presentation, and proprietary media. The names are evocative of another time--and taken together, they express a condition familiar to us all.
Read the full story at Gear Fuse.
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