All kaleidoscopes have 2 basic sections - the mirrors and then an object at the end. The mirrors are usually in a triangular configuration of some type and create a tunnel through which you look. The object at the end creates the colors of your kaleidoscope. The object can be fixed or turn separately. The object can have loose, tumbling beads or it can have an oil filled chamber that will float to change your image. Wheels can be at the end of the kaleidoscope as well. A simple clear marble can also be at the end of the mirrors which is called a teleidoscope.
Front Surface Mirror is a special mirror that is coated on the top surface of the glass unlike that used lets say in your bathroom. In a small environment like a kaleidoscope front surface mirror is highly desirable for its reflectivity and non distorting Qualities. Almost all kaleidoscopes now days use fromt surface mirror i am told Scanners like in Grocery stores and copy machines use front surface mirror as well as kaleidoscopes.
Front Surface Mirror -
3 factors go into the price of each kaleidoscope. First, the materials selected. Simple cardboard is much less expensive than Dichroic glass which costs well over $144 per square foot. Second is the time and talent that is required to create the kaleidoscope. Some pieces are manufactured assembly line style whereas some unique pieces can represent an artist's entire work for a 2 week period. Third is the personality or rarity of the kaleidoscope.
Use a teleidoscope. A teleidoscope is a kaleidoscope that has only a clear marble at the end for its object. It will distort your view of the world and then the mirrors will multiply it into your own kaleidoscopic vision.
Another option is a kaleidoscope with an interchangeable object cell, where it is designed to have objects removed and added to the cell. 2 examples of this are the Nature and Candy kaleidoscope kits which are made from cardboard and acrylic safety mirrors; and a lovely example is the King's Ransom by Henry Bergeson which is handcrafted from solid maple and bubinga woods with brass accents.
Floating images are created when the artist has chosen to use an oil filled cell at the end of the kaleidoscope. Once you have turned the object chamber, the oil will continue to float and thus create a slow motion moving image for you to enjoy. Almost all artists use medical grade pure mineral oil. Some are using silicone as well. The only care required is to keep them away from direct sunlight and direct heat. A dry object chamber will tumble as you turn the cell. It will give you the nostalgic clink as you turn the chamber. There are also creative, fun ways of changing the image from music boxes to perfume atomizers to pulleys to magnets!
The image is created by the geometry of the mirrors; often called the mirror system of the kaleidoscope. A 2 mirror system uses a solid black surface for the triangular barrel of the kaleidoscope. This creates a single round mandala image. The degree of the angle of the mirrors determines how many points to the star there are. A 3 mirror creates a full quilt of color; and again, the angle of the mirrors can change the geometry of the mirrors. Unique mirror systems have used even more mirrors and there have been circular mirror systems where the mirror is shaped like a tube.
At this time, there are very few galleries that carry a large selection of kaleidoscopes. Finding a local source is like finding a needle in a haystack. This is why we have shipped to all 50 states and 6 out of 7 continents. We know there are shipping charges; but please compare it to the cost of driving and hunting for them. We also acknowledge that there is the intangible quality that you just cannot judge until you hold and view your kaleidoscope. This is why our return policy is generous for 30 days. If it's not right, ship it back and we refund your purchase price of the kaleidoscope.
Yes We have shipped to all continents So Far Except For Antarctica. We suggest selecting USPS Global Priority Mail Or USPS Express Mail or UPS Expedited Saver for Best Shipping Methods. For A Quote on Shipping to you please place items you wish to purchase in the Shopping cart and then please select desired shipping method from the drop down menu. For Orders to Canada please see this page. For Orders to Japan Please see this page.