In his letter to Lizzy, Charles reminisces about the games they played as children, including
the “wheels of life” we used to produce for parlor entertainment, a decade ago. Using the somewhat rickety machines of my devising, we would arrange a series of your beautiful little drawings on a spinning wheel, and when we set it in motion fast enough, the images blurred into each other, their transitions vanishing entirely, giving the appearance of movement. Even though we were intimately acquainted with every stroke, every cog—having put it all together—yet we would watch mesmerized.
In his boyhood, Maxwell made such zoetropes too, and thanks to the wonderful James Clerk Maxwell Foundation, we can actually see his handiwork! Like Charles and Lizzy, I too, am enthralled.
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