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September 7, 2017

With Wielding Cardboard Boxes and Knives, See How 1960s Kids Made Box Pinhole Projectors to Safely Watch a Solar Eclipse

During the solar eclipse of 1960, hundreds of people had suffered permanent eye damage from looking directly at the sun. With help from the Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness, Emerson students avoided the same fate by building Sunscopes, pinhole camera-like contraptions that indirectly project an image of the sun. LIFE magazine offered instructions for those desiring to replicate the project at home:
To build your own, get a carton and cut a hole in one side, big enough to poke your head through. Paste white paper on the inside surface that you will be facing. Then punch a pinhole into the opposite side, high enough so that the little shaft of light will miss your head. For a sharper image you can make a better pinhole by cutting a one inch square hole in the carton, taping a piece of aluminum foil over this hole and then making the pinhole in the foil. Finally, tape the box shut and cover all light leaks with black tape.
Here, these photographs below were taken by LIFE photographer Francis Miller from 1963’s fifth grade class of the Emerson School in Maywood, Illinois. The photos show how kids made their own Sunscopes at school to safely look at an eclipse.

(Photos: Francis Miller—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)


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