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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 8:41 EDT

Kaleidoscope

A kaleidoscope, a tube of mirrors containing looks colored objects such as bead and pebbles, is used by the viewer looking in one end while light enters the other end. Sir David Brewster invented the Kaleidoscope and also coined the term. The term translates to “observer of beautiful forms.”

The Kaleidoscope operates on the principle of multiple reflection. Usually there are two rectangular lengthwise mirrors set at 45° creating eight duplicate images of the objects. As the tube rotates the viewer sees the colored objects in various colors and patterns. The two-mirror model creates a pattern or patters isolated against a solid black background. The three-mirror model creates a pattern that fills the entire field.

Modern Kaleidoscopes are made from just about any material an artist can sculpt or manipulate. The object chamber, which holds the viewable objects, can also be constructed by almost any material. The chamber can also be filled with liquid and allows the items within to float and move about freely.

Sir David Brewster invented the telescope in 1816 when working on light polarization experiments. The initial design was a tube with mirrors paired at one end with translucent disks at the other end and beads in between the two. The kaleidoscope soon became a toy despite its original intended use as a science tool.

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Kaleidoscope