Kaleidoscopes operate on the principle of multiple reflection, where several mirrors are attached together. There are three rectangular lengthwise mirrors. Setting the mirrors at a 45 degree angle creates eight duplicate images of the objects, six at 60°, and four at 90°. As the tube is rotated, the tumbling of the colored objects presents the viewer with varying colors and patterns. Any arbitrary pattern of objects shows up as a beautiful symmetrical pattern created by the reflections in the mirrors.
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“Kaleidoscope,” Digital Exhibits at Washington and Lee University Library, accessed September 22, 2017, http://omeka.wlu.edu/items/show/203.