Identify this "scrolling picture" antique?
April 6, 2005 3:52 PM   Subscribe

My mom and sister were going through an old trunk of my grandparent's and came across a curious antique which had a story told through pictures on a scroll. Help us find out what it is?

Made of wood and measuring about 2 feet long, 1.5 feet wide and 3 inches deep (all approximations), the device used what my mom called a "church key" or two-pronged key which rotated a scroll in the device. The scroll told the story of Jesus in a series of old-style "paintings", with virtually no captions except at the beginning and end.

Does anyone know what this device is called? And, the obligatory antique question, is it worth anything considering it's in decent condition?
posted by robbie01 to Grab Bag (2 answers total)
You have a nice old panorama.
posted by Specklet at 4:26 PM on April 6, 2005

Panoramas were 19th-century entertainment. Often you'd find a traveling entertainer with a wagon full of them; he'd rent a hall and sell tickets to exhibit the panorama. Attendants would roll and unroll the panorama behind a curtain or screen so that the image slowly scrolled from one side to the other. Panoramas were usually accompanied by a written script, describing the events depicted. Travelogues were very popular -- there's a truly excellent one on exhibit at the New Bedford Whaling Museum that is over 1000 feet long. They've displayed it so that you can sit and watch it scroll by on video while listening to the script that accompanied it.

Those were large; yours sounds like more of a parlor size for home entertainment. It's a really cool find.
posted by Miko at 9:00 AM on April 7, 2005

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