The principle of an object similar to the thaumascope had already been imagined by Brewster. The idea was to replace the small pieces which produce an image inside the kaleidoscope by an optical system reflecting the surroundings.
One of the first implementations of this principle was invented and commercialised in the 19th century by a Mr. Ferriot, who called it Férioscope.
Other objects using the same principle have been commercialised later with different names and methods: téléidoscope, octascope and so on.
We have developed a new formula which avoids the two most common flaws: if the image is too sharp, the brain struggles to generate an abstract image; if it is too blurry, it quickly gets tiring. Our method makes the image both precise and abstract. We called our invention “thaumascope” (from the greek “thauma”, marvel), to differentiate it from its predecessors.
The thaumascope's images are even more varied than the kaleidoscope's (in which the colours are limited to those the internal elements). It also allows one to look, motionlessly, at moving objects (like a wood fire). It has the characteristic, useful for decorators, to instantly give the main colour of a room.