JF Ptak Quick Post
Joseph Plateau, "On a New and Curious Application of the Permanence of Impressions on the Retina", in Philosophical Magazine, volume 36, January-June 1850, pp 434-436; followed immediately in a much longer paper, "Second Paper on a New and Curious Application of the Permanence of Impressions on the Retina", pp 436-452, with two plates.
From: An Annotated Bibliography of Flicker Fusion Phenomena...1740-1952, by Carney Landis, p.
Plateaun (1801-1883) was the inventor of the Phenakistoscope in 1829, and contributed often (especially with considerable papers in 1835 and 1836) on the issue of persistence of vision. Here he writes of that and the flicker effect, which is the optical illusion in which individual sequential units of images are viewed as a continuous motion of images, which is a trick of the visual system and makes such this as the movies and cartoons and animated shows possible. It is a terrible irony that this great writer on physiological optics would be blind or nearly so by the 1840's, this a result of an experiment conducted requiring him to stare at the sun for nearly half a minute.
"Plateau studied in great detail the phenomena of accidental colors and irradiation, both of which he considered as arising from a similar cause related to the persistence of the image on the retina. Accidental colors are those that appear after staring for some time at a colored object and then at a black surface, or closing one’s eyes and pressing one’s hands over them. An image of the object appears, usually in complementary color and slightly diminished in size. Plateau’s results include his discovery that accidental colors combine both with each other and with real colors according to the usual laws of color mixture. In irradiation luminous objects on a dark background appear enlarged, a factor clearly of interest to astronomers, among whom the question of the extent of the enlargement was causing controversy. Plateau showed that enlargement occurs regardless of the distance from the object and—explaining the varied experiences of the controversialists—that the mean amount of enlargement from the same source varied considerably from one individual to another."--Dictionary of Scientific Biography
Also in this volume: J. Locke, "On the Phatascope", pp 453-457, "instrument for giving single vision with two eyes" (--Living pictures; their history, photoproduction and practical working. With a digest of British patents and annotated bibliography, Henry Hopwood, 1899.)
Among the many other articles in this volume is William Fishburn Donkin's "On the Geometrical Interpretation of Quaternions", pp 489-502. (See Alexander MacFarlane's Bibliography of Quaternions..., 1904, full text here: http://ow.ly/kFRy304gfVD
- See The History of Discovery of Cinematography timeline, which is especially interesting for the pre-1850 entries http://precinemahistory.net/1850.htm