The Factory - History

Crankie Basics Workshop, July 2016

A Chautaugua writing table from 1898 and a child's magic lantern, also late 19th century.

Julia Derby and I presented the lecture/demo CRANKIE BASICS at the Felt-A-Con Festival at the Seattle Children's theatre.  The participants were all puppeteers and a most wonderful audience.  A short part of the workshop was the crankie listed below called "Before the Crankie". I brought a couple 19th century goodies for show and tell.  We also demonstrated using automatons in front of the crankie as the scroll rolled by.  Great fun!

AT THE CRANKIE BASICS WORKSHOP - Work in progress, Waves of the St. Lawrence crankie (vintage lace stitched to a felt scroll) with workshop participants cranking two automatons: a man in a row boat and a big fish following him!

Before the Crankie

2/18/2015 - Last weekend I gave the Power Pointless presentation Before the Crankie crankie at the Oly Old Time Festival in Olympia, Washington.   It touched upon hand-cranked,  paper scrolls in boxes from the late 18th, 19th and early 20th century. Here are a few of the examples touched upon: Rudiment boxes from Scotland and Ireland; a 19th century, home made, cigar box moving panorama; and the home made 19th Century  Panorama of a Whaling Voyage.  Special thanks to Erkki Hutamo, Russell Potter, Ralph Hyde, Jeffrey Ruggles and others who have done the painstaking research on this history. 

Another "thank you" goes out to Ron Easterday, the President of the Magic Lantern Society of the US and Canada.  He helped me find this "child-sized" magic lantern.  Magic lanterns helped usher in the demise of moving panoramas in the 2nd half of the 19th century (magic lanterns were much more portable and the magic lantern slides were easier to produce).

Magic lanterns and moving panoramas were sometimes used together  by projecting images onto the moving panorama scroll.  I was able to demonstrate that with the small magic lantern. This combination is something I want to pursue this year.

Check out the Magic Lantern Society's website

To watch a full length magic lantern show with all the bells and whistles, watch this.

I want to thank Katherine Fahey for introducing me to the material Tyvek, to use for the scroll.  It is very strong and impossible to tear. It doesn't droop like fabric.   When the light shines through it, it looks a bit like parchment paper.  For this scroll, I simply enlarge photograghs, then "inlaid" them into the Tyvek. 

This is the most famous image of a moving panorama.  It appeared in "Scientific American" magazine in 1848.  You will notice that the cranks are at the bottom. That is because this is HUGE. The scroll was around 8 feet high and hundreds of feet long.

Some of my favorite books.
MORE favorite books.