The Crankie Factory


I commissioned Andrea Marcos to design/make some linocut images for me. Isn't it great? I am so happy :-) Check out her website

April 6th, 2020 - Hello! I hope you are staying safe and well during this difficult time.

I live in Seattle and my family and I are sheltering in place, like much of the world. We are fine and most grateful to the healthcare workers, first responders and others who are keeping this city going. Thank you. 

In addition to my full time work-from-home job and making medical masks, I am making short crankie films.  Visit my new webpage CRANKING IN PLACE.

Thank you for your support and take good care. ❤


Cranking in Place Film Series
During this shelter-in-place time, I am making one short crankie video per week, combining the moving scroll with miniatures in a diorama type setting. Click on the CRANKING IN PLACE button on the tool bar at the left. Take good care, we will get through this!

What's a Crankie?

Welcome! I am a fiddler, guitarist, stepdancer and crankie artist living in Seattle. Crankies are an old storytelling art form. It's 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 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! New Webpage - Making Scrolls from Fabric

Check out the new webpage - MAKING CRANKIE SCROLLS FROM FABRIC.

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


Caravan Crankie Lullaby by Pamela Wyn Shannon of Wales.

WATCH A CRANKIE - Over 100 videos of crankies from artists around the world.  Big crankies, miniature crankiescrow crankies and  more.  Thank you Cranksters for sharing your wonderful crankies!!

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 as well.  It will be for sale through the International Panorama Council and Amazon. I will post more information as soon as it is available for purchase. 

In the meantime, click on this link to see a description of the book.

Folklore Village, Crankie Workshop, Sept. 11-13, 2020

I will be teaching a three day crankie workshop at Folklore Village in Dodgeville, WI.  Fri, Sat. and Sunday - three full days.  Come join me!

Decription and registration information.

The John C. Campbell Folk School - Crankie Workshop, Oct. 26 - 30h, 2020

This photo is from the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina. It's very welcoming!

John C. Campbell Folk School - Oct. 27th to Nov. 1st, 2019 - My week at the Folk School was incredible.  I am teaching again the week of  Oct. 26th, 2020!  Come join me! 

Description and registration information. 


Ha, ha. This is my copy. Coffee stained, highlighted, 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.

Make a Cardboard Crankie by Justin DuPont
Long time puppeteer and cranster, Justin DuPont, has put together a very nice instructional video. This would be a great workshop for either kids or adults. Thank you Justin for sharing your expertise!