A British mathematician; he was a schoolmaster, headmaster and schoolkeeper, proficient in classics as well as mathematics, who wrote extensively on functional equations, number theory and approximation theory, but also on optics. His contribution to approximation theory is honoured in the designation Horner's method, in particular respect of a paper in Philosophical Transac tions of the Royal Society of London for 1819.
The modern invention of the zoetrope, under the name Daedaleum in 1834, has been attributed to him. Horner died comparatively young, before the establishment of specialist, regular scientific periodicals. So, the way others have written about him has tended to diverge, sometimes markedly, from his own prolific, if dispersed, record of publications and the contemporary reception of them.
The earliest known zoetrope was created in China around 180 AD by the inventor Ting Huan. Ting Huan's device, driven by convection, hung over a lamp and was called chao hua chich kuan (the pipe which makes fantasies appear).
The modern zoetrope was invented in 1833 in England by William Horner. He called it the "daedalum", most likely as a reference to the Greek myth of Daedalus, though it was popularly referred to as "the wheel of the devil". The daedalum failed to become popular until the 1860s, when it was patented by both English and American makers, including Milton Bradley. The American developer William F. Lincoln named his toy the "zoetrope", meaning "wheel of life".
The ZOETROPE, or “Wheel of life” is an instructive Scientific Toy, illustrating in an attractive manner the persistence of an image on the retina of the eye; it consist of a card-board cylinder with equidistant narrow openings, each about 3 inches long, arranged near the top as shown in the engraving. movents at the same time.
The lower end rests on an iron shaft, rising from a substantial wood base on strips of paper are printed figures of men, animals, etc., in different positions, which are placed in the cylinder. By revolving the cylinder by the hand, and looking through the openings, the images passing rapidly before the eye are blended, so as to give the figures the motions of life in the most natural manner. As many persons as can stand around the Zoetrope can see movents at the same time.looking through the openings, the images passing rapidly before the eye are blended, so as to give the figures the motions of life in the most natural manner. As many persons as can stand around the Zoetrope can see movents at the same time.