Sir David Brewster invented the Kaleidoscope in 1816. A combination of the words, kalos, or beautiful, and eidos or form, and scope or watcher, Kaleidoscope means “beautiful form watcher.”
Brewster’s first ‘scope was constructed of pieces of colored glass and other found objects reflected by mirrors or glass lenses set at angles, creating patterns when spun around.
In the 1870’s, American Charles Bush improved on the design, and began manufacturing them for mass marketing.
The kaleidoscope creates reflections of the objects inside the tube. If the mirror angle is evenly divisible by 360 degrees, the pattern will be symmetrical. For instance, a mirror set at 60 degrees will generate a pattern of six regular sectors. A mirror angle at 45 degrees will make eight equal sectors, and an angle of 30 degrees will make twelve.
From handcrafted or homemade, to mass manufactured, kaleidoscopes are enjoyed by all ages, collected, traded and treasured for their beauty and simplicity.
I’m having fun writing, The Kaleidoscope, A Novel of Unusual Circumstances, where the main character, Harold, finds himself the custodian of a magical scope that reveals much more than just colorful shapes! Here’s a Pinterest board where I’m gathering images of the characters and setting for Kaleidoscope. http://pinterest.com/bevnault/the-kaleidoscope-a-novel-of-unusual-circumstances/