Kaleidoscopes

Here you find a selection of high quality kaleidoscopes, made of solid brass with grade mirrors and lenses. The intense colours and complex patterns will convince you that these optical instruments are clearly much more than just a kiddy toy.
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Kaleidoscopes – ganzing into a different reality

Unfortunately, kaleidoscopes are generally regarded as mere children's toys, which is why they are usually manufactured as a cheap mass product from flimsy materials. The enormous influence of kaleidoscope aesthetics on pop culture and modern design proves that the multiple broken fractal patterns of the kaleidoscope stimulate our senses in a very special way. 

We are pleased to be able to offer a selection of kaleidoscopes that are manufactured to a high standard and which show us their fascination much more impressively than a small cardboard tube with built-in plastic mirrors.

What fascinates us about the kaleidoscope?

Similar to spinning tops or mobiles, kaleidoscopes are art objects which, through a small mechanical manipulation, show us a different state of reality. The incident light, refracted between several mirrors, even gives us a small impression of infinity. The colours shine intensely (the more the kaleidoscope is built to a high standard) and the well-ordered chaos of forms is symbolic of nature itself.

The kaleidoscope was popular in the hippie culture because the typical patterns remind us of sensory impressions which are created under the influence of LSD. And because the repetitive and constantly changing patterns do not offer the eye a single clue, but are only perceivable in their entire diversity, they have a contemplative and relaxing effect.

For designers and other artists, a kaleidoscope is also worthwhile as a working tool because it places colours and shapes in new, inspiring contexts

Since when has the kaleidoscope existed?

The kaleidoscope is not new, it is said to have been known in ancient Greece. The origin of its name also speaks for this. "kalóseidos skopéin" is Greek for to see a beautiful shape/form.

The kaleidoscope was rediscovered by chance at the beginning of the 19th century by the Scottish physicist David Brewster, who used an internally mirrored peep-tube to investigate the refraction of light in crystals. He was excited enough by the sight to apply for a patent for the kaleidoscope in 1817. The international Brewster Kaleidoscope Society, in which manufacturers and enthusiasts of this optical instrument are organised, still exists today.

The largest kaleidoscope in the world was presented at the World Exposition in Japan in 2005: a 47-metre high tower with a spherical ceiling, which refracted sunlight through several mirrors and rotating lenses.

What types of kaleidoscopes are there?

There are certainly more forms of kaleidoscope than we can gather here. David Brewster alone, the discoverer of the modern kaleidoscope, described almost two dozen variations during his lifetime. The variants that we also offer are:

  • the kaleidoscope with small coloured objects between a matt and a clear lens
  • the kaleidoscope with one or more movable glass panes
  • the kaleidoscope with small coloured objects in an oily liquid
  • the kaleidoscope with a completely transparent plexiglass tube
  • the teleidoscope with a spherical fisheye lens

What all variants have in common is that the light passes through an internally mirrored tube which refracts the light several times and recombines it to form repeating patterns.

Who makes our kaleidoscopes?

Usually we concentrate on European artists and manufacturers. However, we were happy to make an exception for Roy Cohen from Isael, especially since we know of no other manufacturer who produces high-quality kaleidoscopes in such a variety. For his kaleidoscopes, Cohen uses high-quality optical lenses and mirrors, which he installs bomb-proof in a heavy brass housing with the help of silicone. 

As inspirations for his work he cites on the one hand his experiences of diving in the Red Sea with its coral reefs glistening in intense colours, and on the other hand the German researcher and philosopher Prof. Ernst Haeckel, who created impressive illustrations of microorganisms, which also feature the principle of symmetrical reflection.

Any more questions? We will be happy to advise you personally by phone or e-mail.