Mutoscopes & Reels

A mutoscope is an early motion picture, coin-operated device. It does not project on a screen, but provides viewing to only one person at a time. Circa 1900, the mutoscope dominated the coin-in-the-slot “peep-show” business. A mutoscope works on the same principle as the “flip book.” Individual image frames are conventional black-and-white, silver-based photographic prints on tough, flexible opaque cards. Rather than being bound into a booklet, the cards are attached to a circular core, like a huge Rolodex. A reel typically holds about 850 cards, giving a viewing time of about a minute. A patron views the cards through a single lens enclosed by a hood. The cards might be lit electrically, but the reel is driven by means of a geared-down hand crank. Each machine holds a single reel and is dedicated to a short show, described by a poster affixed to the machine.

Gameroom Show offers original American Mutoscope Biography clam shell mutoscopes, International Mutoscope Reel machines, Selector Mutocope,individual vintage reels, and cast iron and tin mutoscopes for sale.