During my latest visit to the V&A Museum, I took a quick photo of something that caught my eye as I danced towards the corridors of their glass collection. I realised later that this unusual brass tool brought forth the all-absorbing Spirograph kit that I was gifted in the early 1970s! I remember my love for creating pattern after pattern, which must have been wonderful relief for my parents! (I was a small handful as a child…!). The kit consisted of several large plastic rings in which smaller perforated plastic discs would be placed inside and fitted together like cogs. You simply place the tip of a pen/pencil into one of the many holes of choice and push the disc in a circular fashion against the inside of the large ring (see the animation below). The patterns are endless and using different coloured pens can create amazing visuals!

Hmmm… feeling very inspired to buy one now!

The original Polygraph drawing set at the V&A Museum, patented 1885!

The original Polygraph drawing set at the V&A Museum, patented 1885!

 

Examples of Spirograph created drawings, courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Examples of Spirograph created drawings, courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

 

I love this example of how it works. The mathematics behind it is awesome too, which you can read on the Wikipedia article if that takes your fancy 😉

Spirograph animation. Courtesy of Michael Frey (Wikimedia Commons)

Spirograph animation. Courtesy of Michael Frey (Wikimedia Commons)

And I just learned that the placement of the plastic disc outside the large ring can create what is known as a Epitrochoid. I’m sure I must have played with this too, but probably had trouble pronouncing the word at the age of 4 🙂

Epitrochoid animation. Courtesy of Sam Derbyshire (Wikimedia Commons)

Epitrochoid animation. Courtesy of Sam Derbyshire (Wikimedia Commons)

There were some plastic parts in the Spirograph kit that made some elongated designs, and other pieces to assist in creating something similar to this, a Hypotrochoid.

 

Hypotrochoid animation. Courtesy of Sam Derbyshire (Wikimedia Commons)

Hypotrochoid animation. Courtesy of Sam Derbyshire (Wikimedia Commons)

Another favourite drawing tool that kept me amused for hours as a child was the Pantograph. Again, I wasn’t aware of the name at the time but I thought the odd spindly stick was a marvel for copying designs that I liked in larger/smaller sizes. This nice little animation explains the heart of the invention!

Pantograph animation. Couresty of AlphaZeta (Wikimedia Commons)

Pantograph animation. Couresty of AlphaZeta (Wikimedia Commons)

 

I feel a little sad that I don’t have these tools now…. I wonder where they ended up?!

Originally published: Saturday, January 9th, 2016 at 01:23 in Celebrating Art, Inspiration

Tags

Tags: , , , , ,

No tags for this item

Comments

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Comments?

Security question * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

See also:

%d bloggers like this: