Friday, April 12, 2013

The Letter K

K is for Kaleidoscope

The kaleidoscope was invented by David Brewster in 1816 while looking at things at the end of 2 mirrors. Brewster noticed patterns and colours were recreated into beautiful and colourful designs. He named this new invention after the Greek words meaning beautiful form watcher. Kalos, the Greek word for beautiful, eodos, the Greek word = shape scopeo, the Greek word = to look at. Brewster thought it might be a useful scientific tool for the study of polarized light, patenting it in 1817. 

Unfortunately for Brewster, the patent was worded poorly and others quickly replicated the kaleidoscope, realizing its worth as a toy. Brewster lost out on the enormous profits made by its success.

I remember being given a kaleidoscope as a gift and I would spend hours looking into the small hole while turning the one end slowly and watching all the wonderful shapes and colours turn into funky patterns. For some reason it was relaxing, almost hypnotizing me as each turn of the cylinder top made more and more patterns. For me, it was like I was losing myself in every pattern that appeared. I was being transformed into a weird but oddly wonderful array of light, colours and patterns.
Being a teen in the 70’s I never really forgot the succession of symmetrical designs from the kaleidoscope and donned the wonderful psychedelic ways of tye dye clothing.
 The kaleidoscope has been one of my childhood toys that brings back all that nostalgic fun.



JoJo said...

I love kaleidoscopes as well. I have taken photos through the hole in mine that have come out pretty good.

Ornery's Wife said...

I love these. I have seen many in recent years at craft shows, some commanding an excessive amount of money. They make them of all sorts of flotsam and jetsam and amazing fine hard woods and brass. The cardboard tubes I looked through as a child pale in comparison! Lovely K word--thanks for the memories!

Dana Martin said...

Where did these goooooooo?? Once prevalent in the 70s, they are nowhere to be found now! I doubt my children have ever seen a really great one. Nice "K" post!! What a flashback!

Dana at Waiter, drink please!

sue said...

great word! we've used it in our writing group as a theme for a film I've used it in a poem and NCIS uses it as some sort of camera thing I think

Suzi said...

I think every kid has a kaleidoscope at some time. Or they should. Love that pretty colorful one in the picture. Much better than the cheapo plastic ones kids get now sometimes.

Bryan Reddish said...

My grandparents gave me a cardboard kaleidoscope with a clown on it. The innards are plastic, but the thing is one of my most treasured possessions.

Kathy Wiechman said...

Oooooo! Thanks for that trip down Memory Lane. I loved kaleidoscopes as a kid. Haven't seen one in years. May have to track one down.
Kathy @ Swagger Writers

Anne Mackle said...

Yes I loved mine too, I always wanted to know how it worked, I thought it was magic.