The Crankie Factory

Long, Long Moon - Crankie by Leonard Podolak, Music by The Small Glories
Leonard Podolak, master musician and founder of the Winnipeg Crankie Festival created this amazing crankie. He is also the director of Home Routes/Chemin Chez Nous which has coordinated hundreds of house concerts across Canada. homeroutes.ca The song, Long Long Moon by the award-winning duet THE SMALL GLORIES. When I first heard them at the first Winnipeg Crankie Fest, my jaw dropped to the floor. Oh my goodness, we are talking powerful. thesmallglories.com

What's a crankie?

I made this image for a 2020 crankie fest that didn't happen! We will get back to that. For right now, everyone stay safe and take good care.

Welcome! I am a fiddler, guitarist and crankie artist living in Seattle. What's a crankie you ask? They are an old storytelling art form. Start with  a long illustrated scroll that is wound onto two spools. The spools are loaded into a box which has a viewing window. The scroll is then  hand-cranked while the story is told, a song is sung or a tune is played.  If you haven't seen one before, then a video is worth a thousand words. You will find hours of viewing on this site.

The term crankie is being used now to name this very old art form. In the 19th Century, they were called moving panoramas (among many other names). They originated in Europe in the late 18th century.   This scrolling, picture art form is experiencing a comeback and I am excited to be a part of it. This website attempts to connect the old (moving panoramas of the 18th/19th century) with the new (crankies being made today by artists around the world).

To watch new crankies: click on the WATCH A CRANKIE page. In that section you will find crankies made by artists from the US and abroad. To watch moving panoramas that were made in the 19th Century, click on the HISTORY section.  There are videos of LARGE  and SMALL moving panoramas that have been filmed by museums, historical societies and private collectors.  Heartfelt thanks and gratitude to those individuals working to restore and preserve this forgotten piece of our history.

I hope you enjoy exploring this site, AND I encourage you to MAKE A CRANKIE!

Sue Truman

Created Sept. 3rd, 2012. Find The Crankie Factory on FACEBOOK and You Tube I am posting a lot on Instagram under the clever name of SueTruman1015.

MAKE A CRANKIE!

Cardboard box crankie materials: box, paper, tape, markers, pencils or wooden dowels for spindles, clothes pins for cranks, a cutting tool to cut a viewing window. GO!

MAKE A CRANKIE This section is for those setting out to make their first crankie.  It's a compilation of pictures and tips from various artists:

Kitchen Crankies Workshop, March, 2021, The Winnipeg Crankie Festival
See examples of crankies made from containers from the kitchen: a soap box, mint tin, Barry's tea box, coffee filter box, raisin box, matchbox, food take out box AND a coffee cup crankie. Materials for the scroll: butcher paper, freezer paper, muslin and parchment paper. And we can't forget about the spindles made from bamboo skewers, wooden chop sticks and pencils. I hope this workshop gives you some ideas for making crankies in your kitchen. Many thanks to the Winnipeg Crankie Festival for inviting me back and going along with this wacky idea!

Birthday Candle Box Crankie - Available from Marla Goodman at Etsy

And the best part is using candles for spindles. Brilliant!

Printable Vintage Birthday Candle Box Theater (crankie) instant Digital Download. 1 sheet template and instructions to make DIY moving diorama. $4.50.  From my friend Marla Goodman at Goodwerks in her Etsy store.  This is so dang cute, I am going to order for sure!

Here is the link!

Make a Cardboard Crankie with Justin DuPont
This workshop was from the first Festival of Miniature Crankies, Feb. 13th, 2021, sponsored by the Western Massachusetts Puppetry Guild. Lots of inspiration all around. Justin demonstrates four ways to make a simple cardboard crankie. Thank you Justin!

From the Netherlands, The Flipposcoop - Moving Panorama Toy from the 1930s

Thank you to the Koninklijke Bibiotheek for making this video available for all to see.

The  Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the National Library of the Netherlands, recently purchased a toy moving panorama from the 1930s, The Flipposcoop.

The main character of the story is Flipje van Tiel, the beloved mascot of a jam factory. He was featured in several collectables children could buy with savings stamps. Watch the video below!

Sincere thanks and gratitude to The Koninklijke Bibliotheek for making this available to the public and adding English subtitles! Visit their website: www.kb.nl

Lady Margaret by Sandi Green-Baker
From Springfield, MO, Sandy Green-Baker created this stunningly beautiful and spooky crankie. I will be writing more about this highlighting the materials she used and the unique lighting. Wow!

WATCH A CRANKIE

I took this picture of Elizabeth Laprelle and Anna Roberts Gevalt back in 2016. They were performing in a barn in a rural area of Washington State. A magical performance. annaandelizabeth.com

OVER 100 CRANKIE VIDEOS FROM ARTIST AROUND THE WORLD.  Large, small, crow crankies, crankies + shadow puppetry, crankies made by children and more. CLICK HERE AND ENJOY!

More Than Meets the Eye - The Magic of the Panorama - 2019

 

My article about the crankie revival has been published by the International Panorama Council.  The book contains 25 articles by International Panorama Council members and includes articles on 19th century moving panoramas. To order a copy from the International Panorama Coucil, CLICK ON THIS LINK and follow the directions.   Please note for those in the US, the book will be shipped from Europe.

30th International Panorama Council Conference September 15 – 18, 2021

I will attend virtually for sure. The NBWM is one of my favorite museums.

The International Panorama Council invites scholars, artists, and panorama specialists to attend the 30th annual conference. It will be virtual and hosted by the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA. It will take place September 15–18, 2021. For those interested in the history of crankies, THIS IS THE CONFERENCE TO ATTEND!

I visited the New Bedford Whaling Museum in 2018 to see their 19th century moving panorama, Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage Round the World. Read more about my visit here.

 

READ ABOUT 19TH CENTURY MOVING PANORAMAS

Ha, ha. This is my copy. Coffee stained + dog-eared = well-used!

Illusions in Motion: Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles is the book by Professor Erkki Huhtamo. If you are interested in learning about the history of moving panoramas THIS IS IT!

NEW WEBPAGE! See Erkki's collection of 19th century toy and souvenir moving panoramas.