The Crankie Factory

The Moving Panorama of Pilgrim's Progress, Aug. 8th, 2015, Saco, Maine
A SHORT EXCERPT OF THE PERFORMANCE, STAY TUNED FOR BACK STAGE VIDEO FOOTAGE OF CHANGING 200 POUND SPOOLS. IT WAS A SIGHT TO BEHOLD!
I FLEW 3,000 MILES TO SEE THE MOVING PANORAMA OF PILGRIM'S PROGRESS AND I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED! SACO, MAINE IS REALLY THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD YOU CAN SEE A REPLICA OF A 19TH CENTURY MOVING PANORAMA THIS SIZE. MANY THANKS TO PETER MORELLI AND JESSICA SKWIRE ROUTHIER FOR MAKING THIS HAPPEN, THEY ARE AMAZING!! HERE I AM BACKSTAGE NEXT TO A 200 POUND "CRANKIE" SPOOL. STAY TUNED FOR MORE PICTURES AND VIDEO. AUG. 8TH, 2015

What's a Crankie?

Hello! I am a fiddler, guitarist, stepdancer and crankie artist living in Seattle, Washington.  What exactly is a crankie?  It's a panoramic scene, rolled up inside a box, then hand-cranked so that it scrolls across a viewing screen.  If you haven't seen one before, then a picture (or 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 mid 19th Century, they were called moving panoramas (among other things).  This scrolling, picture art form is experiencing a bit of a comeback.  I am very excited to be a part of it.  This website attempts to connect the old (moving panoramas of the 19th Century) with the new (crankies being made now by artists in the US and beyond).

 

To watch new crankies: click on the WATCH A CRANKIE pageIn that section you will find crankies made by me and many other artists from the US and Europe. 

 

To watch moving panoramas that were made in the 19th Century, click on the "Moving Panorama" section.  There are videos of large and small 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 looking around this site, AND, above all, I encourage you to make a crankie

Sue Truman

Created Sept. 3rd, 2012

Find The Crankie Factory on FacebookYou Tube and you can follow me on Twitter at SueTruman1

WHAT'S NEW?

Pamela Wyn Shannon is a gifted singer, guitarist and artist who lives in Wales.  Read about her crankies here.  Watch one of her crankies "Caravan Crankie Lullaby" here.

An Exhibitor's Diary - 1855  A most remarkable document. This is the diary of a moving panorama showman who exhibited the Moving Panorama of California in New Hampshire and Maine from September to November 1855.  The moving panorama was transported by a horse drawn wagon.  This document comes from the collection of The Maine Historical Society via the Saco Museum and Peter Morelli.  Heartfelt thanks to all for making this available.

In Memoriam: Ralph Hyde 1939-2015 - He was one of the world's formost authorities on moving panoramas as well as stationary panoramas, maps, peep shows and other art forms of the past. The picture to the right shows Ralph in 1984 in London.   This obituary was written by Erkki Huhtamo, a long time friend and colleague, who expressed the loss  perfectly when he said "There is no one to take his place; personalities like Ralph simple do not appear any longer."

Katherine Fahey - I am working on several new crankie artist pages this summer.  The first one is award-winning Baltimore artist Katherine Fahey.  She has been a huge inspiration to me and other crankies artists around the world.  See her page here and check out her website katherinefahey.com.

Make a Crankie!  This section is for those of you setting out to make your first crankie.  It's a compilation of pictures and tips from various artists. It's still a work in progress but there is a lot of information there to get you started.

SUMMER READING! Special thanks to independent researcher Suzanne Wray, for helping me with this selection of books.  I just received A Painter's Pamorama:Narrative, Art, and Faith in the Moving Panorama of Pilgrim's Progress  in the mail.  It looks great!

ON-LINE CRANKIE FEST - This new crankie was created and performed by Sweet Sunny South, a storytellling group from Georgia comprised of  Debbie Westen From, Hannah Sage  (Debbie's teenage daughter) and Tracy Walker.  Check out Debbie's website www.debbiefrom.com

The Trans-Siberian Express at the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900 - A fabulous article written by Arjan den Boer, published Nov. 2014, retours.eu. In 1900, at the Paris Universal Exposition, there were not one, but two moving panoramas of the Trans-Siberian Express. One of the moving panoramas painted by Pavel Piasetsky survives to this day and is housed at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. The picture is Pavel Piasetsky with his moving panorama. This is the most panoramic box ever!

Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley - From the St. Louis Art Museum, painted by John J. Egan, Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley, c.1850. Separate panels of this 1850s moving panorama were on display at the St. Louis Museum of Art as part of the Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the West exhibit which ended in May,  2015.   The first  link is a time lapse video of a crew setting up one scene of the moving panorama. 

the exhibition travels to the Saint Louis Art Museum, on view from February 22–May 17, 2015. It closes in New York at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from June 15–September 20, 2015. - See more at: http://www.cartermuseum.org/exhibitions/navigating-the-west-george-caleb-bingham-and-the-river#sthash.PxxyIU75.dpuf
After premiering at the Amon Carter, the exhibition travels to the Saint Louis Art Museum, on view from February 22–May 17, 2015. It closes in New York at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from June 15–September 20, 2015. - See more at: http://www.cartermuseum.org/exhibitions/navigating-the-west-george-caleb-bingham-and-the-river#sthash.PxxyIU75.dpuf
After premiering at the Amon Carter, the exhibition travels to the Saint Louis Art Museum, on view from February 22–May 17, 2015. It closes in New York at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from June 15–September 20, 2015. - See more at: http://www.cartermuseum.org/exhibitions/navigating-the-west-george-caleb-bingham-and-the-river#sthash.PxxyIU75.dpuf

Henry Box Brown  (1816-c.1889) was a Virginia slave who escaped to freedom by arranging to have himself shipped to Philadelphia abolitionists in a wooden box. He  went on to become a successful moving panorama showman in the US and then in England. 

Read about this truly remarkable story. Find out more in the book The Unboxing of Henry Brown by Jeffrey Ruggles.

Letter from an Unknown Women - A three minute excerpt from the 1948 movie. It shows a couple in an amusement park where they are taking the train ride.  The scenery that is passing by in the window is a bicycle powered moving panorama.

Illusions in Motion: Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles by Prof. Erkki Huhtamo has gone into it's 2nd printing and has received the highest rating "Essential"  from the American Library Association. If you are interested in learning about the history of moving panoramas, this is it! AND, check out his new website www.erkkihuhtamo.com

 

 

Work in progress, a new crankie about a drive along a Barn Quilt Trail. I will show this at the International Panorama Council conference in Namur, Belguim in September!