The Myriopticon: A Historical Panorama of the Rebellion
Milton Bradley and Co. 1866
the orig. printed box with front cut-out in the shape of a proscenium
as issued. Open the box and you’ll find a reel of 22 printed,
hand-painted scenes of the Civil War's most important events, featured
on a paper scroll that is wound around two scroll tubes on either side
of the box. The scroll is 15 feet long. The overall dimensions of the
box are 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 2 1/4 inches.
Toy Theater box containing
twenty-two colored illustrations of the Civil War. The lithographed and
hand colored images are printed on a continuous roll of paper attached
to wooden rollers.
The box is in good sturdy condition. Bottom box is split on one corner - see photo. The label on
the box cover has a torn away area - see photos. The scroll is in excellent
Missing (as usual) - This box originally came with wooden
dowels on either end that could be wound up with a metal handle. It was
also distributed with a set of "tickets to the show", a lecture booklet
that the family patriarch would read from whilst turning the pictures,
and a show bill advertising the production as the “Grand Artistic and
Historical Exhibition,” of the “Great Rebellion.
Milton Bradley (1836-1911) is a legend in the toy business. In
1866 Milton Bradley developed its first moving panorama toy, The
Myriopticon: A Historical Panorama of the Rebellion. Bradley's passions came together in his The
Myriopticon as well as his next panorama, the “Historiscope,” are beautifully illustrated toys meant to be a fun and educational tool for young children. This toy was a pre-cinema device marketed to children along the lines of the thaumatrope, the phenakistoscope, and the magic lantern. Old advertisements
Myriopticon include words like “Just in Time For Christmas”, “moral,
entertaining, wonderful, and instructive”, and as “immensely popular
with boys,” especially those ages 7 to 12. The original price was $1.25.
original instructions recommended that the “exhibition” take place in a
dark room, with parlor curtains drawn around the box and a candle lit
behind it to give the ambience of a real theater. The broadside
“respectfully” asked that the audience remain seated till the first
scene rolled by.
The Myriopticon was created just two years after
Lee surrendered to grant at Appomatox. The designer was 30 year old
Milton Bradley, a draftsman, print-maker, and designer living in
Springfield, Massachusetts. He had entered the game industry just prior
to the Civil War.
The Milton Bradley company history says that
Bradley illustrated the images himself, basing them on iconic
illustrations from magazines such as Harper's and books of the time. He
also wrote the script. The toy is designed from a Union point of view as
is evidenced by the use of the term "Rebellion".
The first scene
in the miniature story has Major Robert Anderson and his troops
entering Fort Sumter on Dec. 26, 1860, as they prepared to defend it against
the Confederates. The images scroll on to battle and camp scenes. You see rebel prisoners, explosions, guns.We have the duel of the Monitor and Merrimack, steamboats on the Mississippi, “colored troops” entering Charleston, S.C.and
more. The whole production finally ends with the evacuation and burning of Richmond
Among the images, Winslow Homer’s
“Sharpshooter” as seen in Harper’s magazine on Nov.
15, 1862 can be seen. Bradley
supposedly copied a lot from Harper’s Weekly. Though we know of no
research specifically on this but - Jennifer Lynn Peterson,associate professor of film studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has identified several original works of art for other Bradley Panoramas. She states "The Historiscope" presents a gallery of images copied from more famous sources." Her fascinating article, “The Historiscope and the Milton Bradley Company: Art and Commerce in Nineteenth-Century Aesthetic Education” is linked below.
Collect all of 6 of Milton Bradley's nineteenth century panorama's:
The Myriopticon A historical Panorama of the Rebellion (Civil War Scenes) 1866
The Historiscope A Panorama & History of America (view of America’s history) 1868
Panorma of The Visit of Santa Claus to The Happy Children (children at play) 1873
Bradley's Historiscope (A later edition of The Historiscope and less elaborate) 1882
The Menagerie and Aquarium (This panorama is a cage on wheels with the
moving script showing zoo animals on one side and fish on the other) 1882
Bible Panorama (Bible Scenes) 1893
The Dick Balzer Collection https://www.dickbalzer.com/Toy_Panoramas.669.0.ht...
The Toys of War, New York Times Op-Edit February 27, 2014
Website: The Civil War in Art: Teaching and Learning through Chicago Collections
The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth Volume 2, Number 1, Winter 2009pp. 3-7
The Old Farmer's Almanack, Published: 1866 page 59
“The Historiscope and the Milton Bradley Company: Art and Commerce in Nineteenth-Century Aesthetic Education” by Jennifer Lynn Peterson https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/675800
Product Code: Z-11