What We Almost Called the Movie Projector

By Alexis C. Madrigal

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/12/what-we-almost-called-the-movie-projector/68155/