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.

→ Find out more about our kaleidoscopes
Show 1 to 13 (from a total of 13 products)





Who makes our kaleidoscopes?

For Isrealian artists Roy Cohen we gladly made an exception from our policy of presenting European artists and manufacturers. Not least because we don’t know about anybody else who produces high quality kaleidoscopes in such a variety. Mr Cohen only uses high grade optical lenses and mirrors which he fixes solidly in a casing of heavy brass. As his inspiration he mentions the experience of diving in the Red Sea with its coral banks of intensely shining colours. Also he mentions the illustration by legendary German scientist and artist Prof. Ernst Haeckel who created impressive depictions of micro-organisms which also show the principle of symmetrical refraction. (By the way: Some of Prof. Haeckel’s illustrations are available from us as beautifully restored poster prints.)

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When was the kaleidoscope invented?

The kaleidoscope is not exactly new, allegedly it was already known in ancient Greece. Maybe that’s why it has a greek name: „kalós eidos skopéin“ means to look at a beautiful shape or figure.

In the early 19th century the kaleidoscope was re-discovered by a Scottish physicist called David Brewster who used a mirrored tube to examine the refraction of crystals. What he saw through his tube made him excited enough to register a patent of the kaleidoscope in 1817. The international Brewster society exists to this day, connecting manufacturers and lovers of the kaleidoscope.

The world’s largest kaleidoscope was presented in 2005 as an attraction of the world fair in Japan: a tower of 47 meters with a spherical roof which refracted the sunlight through several mirrors and rotating lenses to be enjoyed by the visitors in the lower entrance.

 

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What types of kaleidoscopes are there?

There are certainly more types of kaleidoscopes than we can gather here. David Brewster, inventor of the modern mobile, described almost two dozen variations already. The types which you can find here are:

 

All of them have in common that the light shines through a reflecting tube which refracts the light multiple times and recombines it to new abstract patterns.

 

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Why do we love kaleidoscopes?

Just like mobiles or spinning tops kaleidoscopes are artistic objects which transform our perception of matter through some simple mechanical manipulation. The light you see through a kaleidoscope is being refracted by several mirrors and lenses, creating repetitive patterns which offer a glimpse of infinity. The colours shine intensively (according to the kaleidoscope’s quality) und the well ordered chaos of shapes represents how nature is structured in general. What makes the kaleidoscope’s patterns contemplative and mind-calming is that they don’t offer singular points of reference but can only be recognized a a whole. The kaleidoscope also had a special popularity in the hippie scene because its typical patterns remind of sensual impressions under the influence of LSD.

In addition the kaleidoscope is a superb inspiration for designers and other artists because it puts shapes and colours in a completely new context.



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Kaleidoskope aus Messing von Roy Cohen Kaleidoskope von Roy Cohen



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