Mutoscope Viewer

Production date
1920-1949
Country
USA

Description
Red metal viewer with black viewing piece and painted black studs and shell decoration. 1 card reel
Classification
CH classification PHOTOGRAPHY Viewers stereoscope
Production place
USA
Signature/Marks
Mutoscope Trademark Patent No.D 74688 Manufactured by International Mutoscope Reel Co. Inc. New York"
History and use
The Mutoscope was invented by Herbert Cassler in 1894. When the crank is wound, a reel of still photographs on card is rotated to create a short film; much like a flipbook creates the illusion of movement. This particular model was made during the Mutoscope revival of the 1920s-1940s, initiated by William Rabkin of the International Mutoscope Company, who bought the rights to the device.

Despite the machine’s popularity with children at fairgrounds and amusement arcades, many films made for the Mutoscope contained ‘adult’ content. Famous film titles included ‘Wiggling Wonders’ and ‘A Peeping Tom’.

The Mutoscope had a dark reputation in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century because unlike adult cinemas at the time, which denied access to children, Mutoscopes were easily accessible to all ages. The Mutoscope was known colloquially as ‘What the Butler Saw’ and posed a threat of indecency. This did not stop certain arcade owners from allowing young boys with spare change to access such entertainment.
Registration number
H14942

Country

USA

Category

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