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The phenakistiscope was the first widespread animation device that created a fluent illusion of motion.

A series of pictures showing sequential phases of the animation are seen through small slots spaced evenly around the rim of a disc.

The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the images reflected in a mirror, seeing a rapid succession of images that appear to be a single moving picture.

This animation shows one such phenakistiscope disc, entitled Running rats, created by Thomas Mann Baynes in 1833.