“The Bogle,” Phenakistiscope from 1833.

"The Bogle," phenakistiscope from the Library of Congress, as animated gif.

Before movie animation, and even before the zoetrope, the Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau invented the phenakistiscope. You could pin the disc to the eraser of a pencil, and then hold it up to a mirror, and peek through the cutout slits at the reflection. So you’d see a drawing through the slit, then your view gets blocked, then through the next slit you’d see the next image, much like the intermittent motion of a movie projector (image projected, shutter closes, film gets pulled to next frame, shutter opens, etc).

Here’s one I downloaded from the bountiful picture archives at the Library of Congress website, which I converted to an animated gif. It’s from “McLean’s optical illusions,” published in 1833. From the description:

Optical illusion disc which is spun displaying the illusion of motion of a couple on a seesaw in a circle at the center of the disc and a man with an ax attempting to chop a lizard in a circle at the outer edge of the disc.

Here’s the source file, as downloaded from the L.O.C.
Phenakistiscope, "The Bogle."

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