What's this "magic box" and how can I get my hands on one?
February 19, 2018 1:59 PM   Subscribe

I would like to make or buy something like this magic box on display in the Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City: I love the depth and density of the interior universe, and that you have to crane your neck to see into it. Is there a specific name for this kind of object? Any thoughts on how it was made? Where should I begin searching? Terms I've googled: cajita magica; parabolic glass box; optical illusion box lens; mirror box. (I've also tried messaging the museum's facebook but have had no luck in getting an answer.) Thanks!
posted by brieche to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's like some delightful modern version of a wunderkammer, updated for the 20th century. I would assume this to be a one-off made by the museum to display all these disparate but neat pieces, or perhaps something made by an artist, or a toy aficionado who then donated it to the collection. The principle seems similar to a Victorian magnifying box, but on a grander scale.

There used to be a sort of children's toy that operated along similar lines: one version of these was mass-produced by a company called Creative Playthings. If you're any good at woodworking, you could perhaps try to get hold of a few of those old tripod magnifier stools and build them into a display box (or commission someone to do this for you).
posted by halation at 2:23 PM on February 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Diorama as a term might also give you some useful areas to research.
posted by effluvia at 2:26 PM on February 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Thanks!! Unfortunately I never managed to pin down an exact term, but these answers were very helpful! I'll be ordering some lenses to play with.
posted by brieche at 6:59 PM on April 2, 2018


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