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.