Because my academic brain always asks odd questions, this one came up a few years ago. Who came up with the Kaleidoscope? I am just going to pass along to you what I know about Kaleidoscopes It was Sir David Brewster. Yup. I was thinking, possibly, a Leonardo da Vinci something or 'nother. It was in 1816 and Sir David Brewster was a Scots man. I could get all scientifically focused on this and talk about light reflection, polarized lighting, Trigonometry and the image changing with the angle change. But I won't. Because Brewster wanted to come up with images that aided artists in drawing. That's it.
From PING Magazine--
The history of the kaleidoscope goes back about 200 years. In 1816, Scottish physicist David Brewster invented an incredibly beautiful image by using mirror reflections when experimenting on polarised light. He put the image into a cylinder and called it “kaleidoscope” for Greek ‘kalos,’ meaning ‘beautiful,’ with “eidos”, meaning ‘shape,’ and “skopeo” for ‘look.’ Quickly the so-called kaleidoscope made its way all over the world, as a kind of a “Philosophical toy.”
The fun part is that Kaleidoscopes are easy to make and just cool. I taught a College for Kids class on Kaleidoscope making about 10 years ago. I also showed the said toy at a Food and Fun Science Night. A mentor asked for the directions because he thought it would be a fun project to do with his buddy...so I gladly shared it with him. I am now passing this little diddy on to you.
8" long - 1 1/2" pvc pipe
Cupped end cap
plastic covered petri dish (really, you just don't have a box of these in your basement? I do.) OR Stiff Clear plastic sheeting (like a report cover) or clear plastic wrap will work, too.
Rubberband (for clear plastic sheeting)
1 1/8" x 7 7/8" mirror strips (1/8" thick which is standard)
Click here for pictures and instructions on how to put it all together.