Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Israeli Flag Thaumatrope

On the winter of 2005 I invented "the Israeli flag thaumatrope game".

It all began about a year ago when my son and I saw a film called Sleepy Hollow with the actor Johnny Depp. In the film there is a scene in which Johnny is a baby and his mother shows him a thaumatrope, a paper disk which has a bird on one side and a cage on the other and when his mother twirls it on a string Johnny Depp sees the bird inside the cage. Immediately after the film I told my son that we have to find out who makes thaumatropes and to import them. 

A year passed by and one day my son asked me if I can think of a product to import. I described him the thaumatrope that we saw on the film, but I forgot the name "thaumatrope" and the name of the film. My son remembered the name of the film and borrowed a copy of it from the neighborhood video store. We saw the scene of the thaumatrope frame by frame dozen times. Then I looked it up on the Internet and found the name "thaumatrope" and the instructions how to build it. The next week my son and I were busy making all kinds of thaumatropes: clowns with hats, puppies in a frame of a television, and a six pointed star. This last design was original and I thought it captures the essence of Zionism, which is composed of complementary parts that make sense only when they work together; parts like people and country, vision and fulfillment, center and Diaspora.
When the flag was ready my son was not sure if it would sell. A friend of us who is a sculptor thought maybe if we make a three-dimensional weathercock flag people will put it on their cars on Independence Day. Everybody knows that on Independence Day flag makers are making a fortune. So we talked a lot about how such a flag could look, but eventually we had no idea how to make it.
When we had the first Israeli flag thaumatrope in our hands I came up with a new idea: let's make a film, a very short film, to promote the product, and put it on our website so that we could refer potential clients to our domain. My son and film director Aran Patinkin, my friend, agreed to make the film and in two days it was all over, with music and all. I was very proud in my first film and so was my son. It came out better than we thought because the flag was twirling with a wild drum beat on the background and the total effect was just funny.

Making the thaumatrope was easy: we designed it on our computer, took it to a printing shop and made a few thousand flags. Then we had to make two holes on each flag, to put a string in each hole, and to tie the string. We succeeded to make only 100 cards in an hour, but when a salesman came with an offer to sell two hundred thousand flags to the Israeli national flight company we understood that without a machine it will be impossible to fulfill this order. So we went, my son and I, to an efficiency consultant laboratory.
At the beginning of our meeting I showed the consultant the thaumatrope film. He had no loudspeakers so half of the effect of the film was lost, but he couldn't stop twirling the flag in his hands. "By the way, it is an amazing coincidence that I have on my desk a three-dimensional weathercock Israeli flag" he said.
-"really", Asked my son ardently?
The consultant went to his desk and brought us the flag. He twirled it and we so clearly the six pointed blue star. It was so exciting we couldn't speak. What are the odds to find such a new invention? Even if you go to all the efficiency consultants in the world it is unimaginable that you will find what you are looking for. Anyhow the consultant suggested we go to a patent office to ask if we violate anybody's rights. Before we left the laboratory he told us: "I'm sure this flag will sell millions".

Then we went to a patent office and met a religious tall clerk. The clerk couldn't stop twirling the flag throughout the whole meeting. He said there is no violation of any rights because we didn't copy our design from anybody - we've invented a new design based on the invention of the thaumatrope in 1824 and nobody has patent rights on the thaumatrope. We told him that the Israeli national flight company is interested to buy two hundred thousand flags from us.

 "Can I ask you a personal favor?" asked the clerk. 

-"of course"
My brother is a manager in Lufthansa air flight company; can I show him the flag?
-"of course"
"By the way, concluded the clerk, "I'm sure this flag will sell millions".



Lorithelibrarian said...

We love this Star of David thaumatrope and would love to incorporate this idea into our school's Yom Ha'Atzmaut #68 celebration. Are there any of these left?

zeevveez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zeevveez said...

unfortunately there are no more items left.

Lorithelibrarian said...

Any thoughts on how to create them? Kind of paper? Size? Type of string?
Thanks for responding.

zeevveez said...

10cm X 6.65 cm
Paper: 300 gram
Best string: simple rubber band
Print each side separateley: One side: triangle upward, second side: triangle downward
and glue them together.

Good Luck