U.S. # 4722-25
2013 46¢ Kaleidoscope Flowers
Set of 4
Finding new ways to share scientific discoveries with the public took the form of philosophical toys in the early 1800s. Among these popular devices was the kaleidoscope, invented in 1816 by Sir David Brewster of Scotland. Brewster’s device consisted of a tube containing mirrors connected at an angle with colored glass in front. As the viewer rotated the tube, the glass pieces moved, creating ever-changing images.
Over the years, other scientists and artists began to improve on Brewster’s design. They experimented with different numbers of mirrors connected at various angles, using a variety of materials to be reflected. These included beads, flowers, pebbles, and more. Other types of kaleidoscopes use liquids of varying densities or revolving discs to form their images. Still others create designs from the viewer’s surroundings.
While most kaleidoscopes are hand-held, others are the size of an entire room or larger. Some of these larger kaleidoscopes allow the viewer to be part of the image, while others form images up to 118 feet wide, creating an interactive spectacle. Today, kaleidoscopes can be fun children’s toys or expensive collectibles worth thousands of dollars. Yet they are also used as Brewster intended, as inspiration for designers of rugs, stained glass, and more.
Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamps using the art of graphic artists Petra and Nicole Kapitza. Each stamp pictures the same flower shape with different colors, creating the illusion that the patterns recede or move forward.
Value: 46¢ first class letter rate
Issued: January 14, 2013
First Day City: Kansas City, MO
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products
Method: Offset printing in coils of 3,000 and 10,000
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 11
Quantity Printed: 170,000,000 stamps
The Kaleidoscope Flower stamps continue the U.S.P.S. tradition of picturing beautiful flowers on postage. These stamps were issued in large coils for use by businesses that send large amounts of first-class letters.