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EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

ZIN

No XIV.

MAY 1818.

VOL. III.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PATINT KA

LEIDOSCOPE, INVENTED BY DR
BREWSTER.

the inclined reflectors. The images formed by one reflexion from each of the plates, lie on each side of the

direct aperture, and are inverted imThe Kaleidoscope is an instrument ages of that aperture; the next two recently invented by Dr Brewster, for images, formed by two reflections, are the purpose of creating and exhibiting images not inverted, and so on throughan infinite variety of beautiful forms. out the whole series, every two direct The name is derived from the Greek images being separated by an inverted words, xados, beautiful-sidos, a form- one. and HOTEW, to see.

From these observations it will be This instrument, in its simplest seen, that the Kaleidoscope is not an form, consists of two reflecting planes, instrument which produces beautiful made either of new plate glass or spec- forms by the multiplication of single ulum metal, ground perfectly flat, and forms ; for it is demonstrable, that a highly polished. The plates may be of symmetrical and beautiful pattern canany length, but that which is most con not be produced by the repetition of venient will be found to be from 5 to any single form; and if it were possible 10, or 12 inches. Their breadth should to construct a multiplying glass with be about 8 or 9 tenths of an inch when mathematical perfection, and free of the length is 6 inches, but the breadth all the prismatic colours, it would be should increase with the length, in impossible to produce with it an arorder to have the aperture of the same rangement of simple forms, marked angular magnitude. Two of the edges with symmetry and beauty, The of these reflectors, after they are care- principle of the Kaleidoscope therefore fully ground to a straight line by the is, to produce symmetry and beauty finest emery, and freed from all rough- by the creation and subsequent multiness and imperfection, are placed to- plication of compound forms, each of gether, by a particular contrivance, in which is composed of a direct and an such a manner, that their inclination, inverted image of a simple form. or the angle which they form, is The tube which holds the reflecting exactly an even aliquot part of a circle, plates moves in another tube, and upon or a 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, the outer end of this last tube is placed 16th, 18th, 20th, &c. part of 360°. a brass cell, or cap, for receiving a series When the plates

are thus fixed in a of object-plates, containing fragments brass tube, and the eye placed at one of differently coloured glass, and other end of them, it will perceive a circular substances, placed at random. When field of view, composed of as many

one of these object-plates is pushed luminous sectors as the number of into the cell, the cell is placed upon times that the angle formed by the re- the end of the outer tube, and the in: flectors is contained in 360°. These ner tube pushed in as far as it will go. sectors, excepting the one seen by The instrument being held in one direct vision, and constituting the an- hand, the cell containing the objectgular aperture of the plates, are a plate is moved round by the other ; series of images of this aperturé, form- and the eye of the observer being placed ed by successive reflexions between at the narrow end of the tube, he will

VOL. III.

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observe the irregular masses of col- beautiful and symmetrical forms, in our arranged in an infinite variety of the same manner as if they had been forms, mathematically symmetrical, reduced in size, and actually placed at and highly pleasing to the eye. the end of the reflectors. In this way

“ It the object is put in motion, every object in nature may be introthe combination of images will like- duced into the picture formed by the wise be put in motion, and new forms instrument, and the observer will deperfectly different, but equally sym- rive a new and endless source of enmetrical,-will successively present joyment by the creation of pictures themselves, sometimes vanishing in from natural objects, whether animate the centre,-sometimes emerging from or inanimate. The leaves and petals it, and sometimes playing around it in of flowers, the foliage of trees, grass double and opposite oscillations. When mixed with flowers, the currents of a the object is tinged with different col- river, moving insects, a blazing fire, ours, the most beautiful tints are de are objects which never fail to delight veloped in succession, and the whole the eye by the new creations which figure delights the eye by the perfec- they afford. tion of its form, and the brilliancy of T'he Kaleidoscope, in its popular its colouring.

form, has been manufactured with The effects, of which we have given much taste by Mr Philip Carpenter, a general description, obviously arise optician in Birmingham, and by Mr from the inversion and subsequent John Ruthven of Edinburgh, to whom multiplication of every object placed the public is already indebted for the before the angular aperture, or the ingenious printing and copying presses luminous sector seen by direct vision, with which he has enriched the arts. and from the perfect junction of all It generally consists of two tubes, a the reflected images. When the ob- lens, six object-plates, one of which is ject is moved, the inverted images left empty for new objects, and a cell all seem to move in an opposite for containing them. Some of them direction, while the images not in are made without the drawer tube and verted move in the same direction the lens, and others with stands, and with the object; and from these op a spare tube which forms a different posite motions, as well as from the pattern. entrance of new objects, by the revo When the Kaleidoscope is intendlution or the direct motion of the ob- ed for scientific purposes, it requires ject-plate, arises that endless variety to be made in a different form, with of forms which affords so much grati- contrivances for varying the inclinafication to the eye.

tion of the reflectors. The instrument, In the preceding form of this in- with these contrivances, has been made strument, the object must necessarily with great skill by Mr Bate, an ingebe placed close to the end of the re- nious optician in London. The reflectors; for if it is removed from this flectors are made of the finest speculum position, the symmetry is destroyed, metal, of such a composition that it and the deviation from a symmetrical is incapable of tarnishing. The edges form increases as the distance of the of these metallic reflectors are adjustobject from the reflector increases. ed with great nicety to the axes of the The use of the instrument is therefore rings that support them, so that they limited to objects which can be held are made to form any angle from 0* close to the reflector.

to 90°. This limitation, however, has been As the Kaleidoscope is of the greatremoved, and the use and application est use in the ornamental arts, partiof the instrument indefinitely extend- cularly to carpet and lace manufaced by an optical contrivance. A lens turers, calico printers, architects, paof a short focal length is placed on the per stainers, ornamental painters, jewobject end of the outer tube, and the ellers, carvers and gilders, workers in inger tube is drawn out till the image stained glass, &c. its adaptation to their of objects, whatever be their distance, purposes has been attended to, and the falls exactly on the outer ends of the re instruments are occasionally furnished flectors. When this is the case, these with a stand, in order that the pattern objects will be arranged into the most may be fixed whilst the artist is en

gaged in copying it. They are also Specification of the Patent. rendered capable of being used with

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Dr Wollaston's Camera Lucida, in or- half of the instrument in one shop, der that those who are not able to and the other half in another ; but copy the patterns with perfect correct- this unprecedented invasion of private ness, may thus be enabled to do it property has been discountenanced by with facility and accuracy.

all the eminent London opticians with When the instrument is thus con a liberality and disinterestedness which structed, the painter may introduce might have been expected from that the

very colours which he is to use, respectable body; and we have no the jeweller the gems which he is to doubt that the public will be equally arrange, and in general the artist may disposed to discourage such unjustifiapply

to the instrument the materials able aggressions. Monopolies are no which he is to embody, and thus form doubt in many cases evils that ought the most accurate opinion of their ef- to be avoided; but in this country, a fect when combined into an ornamental patent is the only reward which is give pattern. When the Kaleidoscope is ap en for mechanical inventions, and for plied in this manner, an infinite variety new processes in the arts; and we do of patterns is created, and the artist can not see why the inventor of a machine select such as he considers most beau- should not derive the same advantages tiful and most suited to the nature of from his labours that every author his work. After a knowledge of the does from his writings. principle and powers of the tru Those who wish for further informent has been acquired by a little mation respecting the Kaleidoscope, practice, he will be able to give any may consult the printed description character to the figure that he pleases, of it which accompanies the patent and he may even create a series of dif- instrument, an ingenious paper on ferent patterns, all rising out of one the Kaleidoscope in Thomson's Annals another, and returning again, by simi- of Philosophy, vol. XI. written by lar gradations, to the first of the series. Peter Roget, M.D. F.R.S., and a In all these cases the pattern is per Treatise on the Principles of the Kan fectly symmetrical round a centre, or leidoscope, and its Application to the all the sectors, or images of the aper numerous branches of the fine and usea ture, are exactly alike, with this dif- ful Arts, which will soon be published ference only, that every alternate by Dr Brewster. sector is inverted; but this symmetry may be altered, for after the pattern is drawn, it may be reduced into a square, a triangular, an elliptical, or any other form that we choose. The instruments are sometimes made to give annular The Reverie of an Enthusiast. patterns, and straight patterns for borders.

The purposes of life are so various, If it is required to introduce a and its powers so limited, that the flower, a leaf, à statue, or any other mind can scarcely reflect upon its state, object which is too large to be seen without discerning at once a vast in through the aperture, we have only to adequacy of the existence it carries on, use the lens, and place the object at to the requisitions under which that such a distance that the image of it, existence is held, and without feeling a formed by the lens, is sufficiently small nothingness in that present instant in to be admitted into the aperture.

which the form of its existence is In consequence of the popularity of brought, as in a concentrated image, this instruinent, it has, we under-. before its inspection. What follows stand, been pirated in London by in- Either the mind gathers up all the dividuals who are entirely ignorant of consciousness of its strength and of its its principles and construction, and destination, and, with violent commowho have imposed upon the public a tion of its powers, believes and wills wretched imitation of the original, a greater future,-- or it submits itself possessing none of the properties which patiently to the seeming constitution are essentially necessary to the pro- of a frail nature, contented to know duction of beautiful and symmetrical that it shall go on hereafter as it has forms. These piracies have been car gone on hitherto :And so life passes. ried on with such dexterity, that in And is this all? Is this plausible hu. some cases the purchaser obtains one mility of self-knowledge, which suits

torn,

ON TRUTH.

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so happily the indolent virtue of the We all feel that there is a light by world, and squares so well with the which we must regulate our lives. This unaspiring prudence of its wisdom,- is the common consenting belief of all is this Truth? And is that sudden, mankind. No doubt their conceptions violent, momentary, grasping of a of truth are various. The impulse, prouder spirit—is that illusion--the the instinct of nature, which urges fond folly of presumptuous self-ig. them, is the same to all

. But soon norance,

variance begins by the diversity of in" That raught at mountains with out- dividual being. Each sees by his own stretched arms,

light, and amidst his own illusions. And parted but the shadow with his hand ?” Each views in different aspect the Who shall give the answer ? The same mysterious, half-revealed, uncompredivision of spirit among men, which hended power, which is ever present has divided their conduct, divides also and ever remote: he shapes by his their understanding, -and each will own mind that undefined form. As answer from his own spirit, as it may his heart suggests—as his will purhave been enlightened, or corrupted, poses—as his thought dares he hopes, or bewildered, by his past life, and demands, conceives truth. This he not from inquisition of truth. Though does, not in order to submit himself to perhaps no man ever feels with full truth, but to subject truth to himself, conviction that he possesses truth, to incorporate her power with his own yet every man, except in his despair- life. Truth, by which he may strengthing moments, assures himself that he en, exalt, enlarge his own being, is is near to it, -and perhaps he is so,– what he seeks ; not truth, therefore, as if there were but a veil interposed awful, authoritative, and controlling, that he cannot put aside, which some but truth fettered and ministering; times gathers in thicker folds under truth justifying himself to himself his hand, and sometimes, perhaps soothing his pride-licensing his paswithout his endeavour, parts for a mo sions-taking her looks, her life, her ment, and then closes again, while he law, her being, from himself. Each is yet gaxing

man seeks truth, but each his own. Those who have upheld, as philoso- And hence is there such diversity in phical dogmas, asseverations of our ut- all the opinions of men. Hence is it ter incapacity for truth, and have, for that, from the birth of science to this their system of nature, represented man hour, philosophy has so often changed as a being bewildering himself, hope- her shape,—that the labour of one age lessly and in vain, in dark and inextri- has been to pull down the fabric of cable mazes of thought,-have spoken another, and to build as perishably falsely to their own minds, and falsely upon its ruins. Hence is it that the to the convictions of men. There is no same original principle of belief and such belief in the human mind: no desire, working in the minds of felman, looking back upon his own life, low-men, has so often conducted them, whatever seasons of gloom he may have not to common participation in comknown, can find a fixed habitual con mon good, but to fearful division and sciousness of living on in bewildering implacable hate—to dissensions of opidarkness. That forlorn estate is not nion—convulsing life,—when the vulknown to our natural life : There is gar passions of men have stood aloof no place then for such philosophy in and astonished, to see speculative innature. But there have been men, tellect kindle the torch, and forge the who, living according to their own be- sword, to arm the bands of common lief, in the very light of their minds, war. have chosen in their pride, or been Each man believes that he desires otherwise misled, to cast such dis- and seeks truth, that in part he knows heartening illusions on the belief of it, and in part subjects the course of others, and have given a show of his life to that knowledge. But when truth to a false philosophy, by taking he bends his mind thitherward, he out from the whole course of life its brings it, such as it is, unpuritied, ununhappiest moments, and constituting chastised, full of illusions of its own into a system of permanent belief, the cherishing. Is it wonderful then, if naturally transient impressions of fear, men, thus making endeavour, find no Sadness, suspicion, self-aversion, and better success ? if, under incitement despair.

of' a principle which might guide them

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