The invention of the thaumatrope is usually credited to Mark Roget, who used one to demonstrate persistence of vision to the Royal College of Physicians in London in 1824. He based his invention on ideas of the astronomer John Herschel and the geologist William Henry Fitton, and some sources attribute the actual invention to Fitton rather than Paris. Others claim that Charles Babbage was the inventor.
Examples of common thaumatrope pictures include a bare tree on one side of the disk, and its leaves on the other, or a bird on one side and a cage on the other. They often also included riddles or short poems, with one line on each side.
The coined name translates roughly as "wonder turner" in modern Greek.
Louis XIV's music video for "Guilt by association" was inspired by thaumatrope. The video is edited in a way that even if only one member is on the screen, the other can be seen by persistence of vision.