A Wonderful 19thC Mahogany Handheld Kaleidoscope


Origin: English
Period: Late-Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1870
Length: 11.5 inches
Diameter: 3.5 inches (glass end)

Of octagonal form, with eyepiece hole to one end and frosted glass to the other, the quality made five-point symmetry kaleidoscope is in original condition.

Instead of turning pegs, this example needs to be physically turned as a whole, using gravity to change the images; thus the attractive and useful octagonal form for a better grip. The quality of the mahogany is high and most importantly the glass ampules and mirrors are all in tact.

Scottish scientist, Sir David Brewster, naming his invention after the Greek words, kalos or beautiful, eidos or form, and scopos or watcher making the ‘beautiful form watcher’, invented the kaleidoscope in 1816. Brewster's kaleidoscope was a tube containing loose pieces of colored glass and other pretty objects, reflected by mirrors or glass lenses set at angles, creating patterns when viewed through the end of the tube.

This is a truly enchanting object; of which our images cannot do justice, in no uncertain terms a visually stimulating vortex… or merely an optical delight, to you and I.