"Mr Paul claimed his invention would materialise the human desire to live in the past, the present and the future all at once"

Robert Paul was a pioneer of early cinema.  In 1895 he filed a patent application for a cinematic journey through time, and in 1896 was successful in projecting onto a screen for the first time.  His Theatrograph machine was the first commercially produced 35mm projector to be produced in Great Britain.  Early cinema was seen as a form of illusion, following on from the tradition of travelling shows, and his invention would have intrigued both genuine illusionists and creative frauds.

The Praxinoscope was an animation device, created in France in 1877.  It used a strip of pictures placed around the inner surface of a spinning cylinder, with a series of mirrors positioned to give the effect of a moving image as the device rotated.

The Phasmatrope was the first creation to present a sense of movement to a large audience at once.  Images are placed around a metal disc which was rotated by hand crank to position each image briefly in the beam of the projector lamp.

The Zoopraxiscope was created in 1879, and used a disc similar to that of the Phasmatrope to project a sequence of images.  It used glass discs with hand painted images, some of which were very complicated.