In honour of International Animation Day, here are 10 facts about the history of animation:
1. An early predecessor of the projector existed around 1650. This
was called the “magic lantern,” and consisted of a translucent oil
painting, a very simple lens, and a candle or oil lamp. The images would
be projected in a darkened room, and often were used to convince
viewers that they were witnessing something supernatural.
2. The flip book was patented as the “kineograph” in 1868 by John Barnes Linnett.
3. Thomas Edison announced the creation of a device he called the
kinetoscope in 1889. This projected a 50 foot length of film in about 13
4. Charles-Émile Reynaud is considered the pioneer of projected animated films. After inventing the praxinoscope, his animation Un bon bock was the first he showed publicly in 1892. It was shown alongside Le Clown et ses chiens and Pauvre Pierrot. In 1910, Reynaud threw most of his films into the Seine in Paris. Pauvre Pierrot is one of two that survived.
5. The first entirely animated film recorded on standard picture film was created in 1906. This was called Humourous Phases of Funny Faces,
and was created by James Stuart Blackton. This featured scenes drawn on
a chalkboard. Blackston is considered the father of North American
6. In 1908, Émile Cohl created the first animated film using what
became recognised as traditional animation – hand-drawing the images on
paper. The film, called Fantasmagorie was made up of 700 separate drawings (cells), and is about 80 seconds in length.
7. Not one to stop trying new techniques, Cohl created another animation called En Route
in 1910, which was the first paper cutout animation. This allowed the
animator to save time by simply repositioning the paper drawings rather
than having to redraw each new cell.
8. Walt Disney owned a studio in Kansas City called Laugh-O-Grams
prior to opening Disney Studios. It went bankrupt in 1923, which is when
Disney moved to Los Angeles and opened his new studio.
9. Disney originally wanted to call his famous mouse Mortimer. His wife disliked the name and suggested Mickey instead.
10. The first time computer animation was used for an entire film was with Toy Story in 1995. The last film of the franchise, Toy Story 3, was the first animated film to earn more than $1-billion worldwide.