These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

Modern GIFs may make the Internet a more animated place, but they're no match for the sublime weirdness of 19th-century animations. While some are graceful mini-movies of people and animals, others seem pulled from some truly surreal nightmares.

Everything you wanted to know about phenakistoscope, zoetrope, and praxinoscope

Who's Knocking At The Door, a French zoetrope from the 1870s

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

A Couple Waltzing, by Eadweard Muybridge, 1893

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

(via Library of Congress)

Zoetrope Series No. 1, from Milton Bradley Co., 1867

A soldier on horseback

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

(via Digital Media For Artists Archive)

Slip To The Water

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

Praxinoscope animation by Émile Reynaud, 1877-1879

Comets and Planets

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

(via Weird GIF)

Dancing and Jumping

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

Athletes – Boxing by Eadweard Muybridge, c. 1893

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Jester

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

Rats by Thomas Mann Baynes, 1833

Geometry

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

Lions eating children

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

(via Weird GIF)

Eaten by a head

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

Frightening phenakistoscopes

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

(via Colossal)

Cyclist

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

(via North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics)

McLean's Optical Illusions, a series of 12 phenakistoscope discs, published in 1833.

Mule Bucking and Kicking,by Eadweard Muybridge, 1893 (zoopraxiscope)

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

(via Wikimedia Commons)

The Frogeater

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

The Attitudes of Animals in Motion, by Eadward Muybridge, 1881, and some of his other works, often demonstrated with a zoetrope

A Horse-back Somersault, by Eadweard Muybridge, 1893 (zoopraxiscope)

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Village Blacksmiths, by Eadweard Muybridge, 1893 (zoopraxiscope)

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Baboon Walking and Buffalo Galloping, by Eadweard Muybridge, 1893 (zoopraxiscope)

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

(via Wikimedia Commons 12)

Columbian Exposition Horse Race (Galloping), by Eadweard Muybridge, 1893 (zoopraxiscope)

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Monkeys Climbing a Cocoa Palm, by Eadweard Muybridge, 1893 (zoopraxiscope)

These were the GIFs of the Victorian Age

(via Wikipedia Commons)

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The GIFs are phenakistoscopes from The Richard Balzer Collection, except when noted otherwise.