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


WHAT'S NEW?  Well, I live in Seattle, the US ground zero for COVID-19.  My family and I are fine. We have not been exposed and we are following guidelines from the CDC and health officials which means staying put!   I cancelled a couple out-of-state crankie performances which made me sad but it was the right thing to do.  The festival organizers were very supportive and understanding. This was a first for me, to ever cancel a gig.

So, for the time being, I will be spending lots of time at home making crankie scrolls, making silly crankie films (like the one at the bottom of this page), adding more content to this website and getting ready for my crankie workshops in the summer & fall.

Thank you for your support and take good care during this challenging time ❤


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.

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. 

Crankies with Puppetry

From Chicago, Blair Thomas created four scrolls for "The Blackbird." The shadow image from one scroll to the next, 2010.

REVISED WEBPAGE - Crankies with Puppetry

Cranking Up the Magic: An Interview with Sue Truman - Honored to be interviewed  by Emma Winsor of Puppet Place,  a news blog out of the UK,  the hub for all things animated on stage and film.

HISTORY OF USING PUPPETRY WITH MOVING DROPS - Dmitri Carter from the Northwest Puppet Center shares historic examples of puppets used with moving drops.

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!!


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!
Waxwing by Erin Elliott and Alexandra Ramirez
Original song by Alesdair Roberts. Artwork by Alexandra Ramirez. Erin Elliott built the crankie box and is singing and playing shruti. Performed at the Saying and the Said's All Hallows Cabaret in Portland, Oregon.
I am experimenting using the inside of the crankie box. Happy St. Paddy's Day in advance. My husband collects Irish 78s. I am enjoying using our hand-cranked Gramophone to provide the audio portion of the crankie show. More to follow.