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Google Doodle celebrates Eadweard J. Muybridge, Father of the Zoopraxiscope (+video)

Eadweard Muybridge is the subject of today's Google Doodle. In the process of photographing galloping horses, Muybridge invented the Zoopraxiscope, the forerunner to the motion picture projector.

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Today's Google Doodle is an homage to  Eadweard Muybridge, the father of the Zoopraxiscope.

The Zoopraxiscope was built during the quest to answer the question: Do all four legs of a galloping horse leave the ground at once?

Eadweard Muybridge was hired by the former governor of California, Leland Stanford, to answer the question. From1877-79, Muybridge took a series of photographs of the horse "Oxident" at Stanford's farm at Palo Alto. He set up a camera shed with 12 (later 24) cameras, each with shutters attached to threads. When a horse broke a thread as it passed in front of the camera, the shutter dropped and an instant exposure was taken. One of those stills clearly showed the horse with all four legs off the ground. But Muybrdge wanted to find a way to display the horse in motion.

In 1879, Muybridge invented the Zoopraxiscope – the forerunner to the motion picture projector.

The Zoopraxiscope was initially called the Zoogyroscope. Perhaps, Zoogyroscope was too difficult to pronounce or didn't have quite the right ring. So, Muybridge dubbed his device the Zoopraxiscope. Either way, this was actually an enhancement of old Phenakistiscope or 'spinning picture disc' invented in the 1830s.

Muybridge's machine had a spinning 16-inch glass disc with images of the galloping horse on the disc. 


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