First released in 1896, the mutoscope was a cheaper version of an individual motion picture viewer. Using a circular flip book rather than the more expensive and fragile celluloid, it undercut Edison’s kinetoscope in the arcade business. Although no longer manufactured, they were an arcade staple until recently. Some arcades, particularly nostalgia-themed ones, still have them.
The Mutoscope Company was co-founded by William K. L. Dickson, Edison’s chief film developer and inventor of the kinetograph and kinetoscope. After leaving Edison in 1895, he then became Edison’s main domestic competitor.