I thought this would be a good chance to try out a web search engine as
a lexicographic research tool.
I searched for the word 'rotagraph' on altavista (over the whole web,
in any language) and didn't come up with any uses in the sense which
Pieter described. There were however the following:
Rotagraph appears to be in current use as a mathematical term, especially used
in optical technology - from
Rotagraphs and Fasciagraphs
Further on we shall assume the uniformity of the monographs and edges
connecting them (e.g. all monographs should be the same and all the
sets of edges should be the same). An appropriate polygraph with closed
ends is called a rotagraph and an appropriate polygraph with open ends
is called a fasciagraph.
A rotagraph can be constructed using cycles as well: we take a cycle on
n vertices as a skeleton graph and replace each vertex with a
monograph. We add a set of edges between two adjacent monographs and,
voila, a rotagraph. A fasciagraph can be obtained in a similar way,
only using a path on n edges as a skeleton graph.
And also in cinema animation, from an interview with a
The Site: How have things changed over those 90 years? How did
they use to do it in the early 1900s?
Loeb: In the early 1900s, things were just getting invented, so
things worked in all sorts of ways. People would just cut where the
animation came in, or later on, a technique was invented by Max
Fleischer called Rotagraph, where they actually projected the live
action film onto a screen, and then they would put the animated
drawing on top of it, and then it was re-photographed frame by
frame. So it was sort of mixed right there on a piece of glass.
I tried all of the other search engines listed at www.yahoo.com.
Some came up with different hits but no new meanings.
Direct hit (http://www.directhit.com) came up with an
apparently unrelated but orthographically close trademark
Rotagraphics, the three sided moving message/graphics display system
designed to give maximum of space. The unique cascading effect provides
a constantly changing attention generating visual that attracts your
Perhaps we can conclude that while the web certainly has its uses for
this sort of thing, it is not the best place to search for terms
associated with early 20th century technology!
-- Martin Wynne Coordinator, TRACTOR Network www.tractor.de
Institut für Deutsche Sprache & Corpus Research Group, School of English, Birmingham University
Tel: 0121 414 2763 Fax: 0121 414 5668
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