This is a kaleidoscope made with a straight 3 sided mirror system using front surface mirror. The overall length of the body is 25cms, and the discs are 8 to 10 cms. in diameter. The colour of the body varies and if you have a particular preference please let me know.
Kaleidoscopes were invented by Sir David Brewster, a Scottish physicist in 1816. They have been used in the design of fabrics and wallpapers, as objects for parlour entertainment, and as therapeutic and meditative devices. Simple kaleidoscopes have been available for many years as children’s toys, but the kaleidoscopes I make are intended for adults to enjoy. They can of course be shown to youngsters under supervision!
The heart of a kaleidoscope is a tube of mirror, down which you look at an object. There are many mirror systems possible but I prefer a simple triangular tube, sometimes straight and sometimes a tapered tube. The object at the end is entirely made of glass, either discs that rotate which give a gentle silent experience, or a box end filled with various beads, sequins etc, which is turned so that the contents tumble and fall giving a suddenly changing endless variety of images.
The mirror used can either be standard thin mirror, or for the ultimate kaleidoscope, front surface mirror is used. This is an expensive optical material with the mirror coating on the front of the glass rather than on the back. This means that where the mirrors meet is where the image is made, so that there is no interference from the couple of millimetres of glass in front of the reflective surface. The results are spectacularly clear and bright!
All of my kaleidoscopes are now made using front surface mirror. They take about 6 to 7 hours each to make, so using the best possible materials just makes sense!
Views Down Kaleidoscopes
Rosemary Taylor, Works of Glass
Oaktree Court, Upper Seagry
Chippenham, Wilts, UK SN15 5EX