What the Butler Saw (mutoscope)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
butler, voyeurism, coin-op

What the Butler Saw was a mutoscope reel, and an early example of softcore pornographic films. It depicted a scene of a woman partially undressing, as if "the butler" was watching her through a keyhole. It was viewed by depositing a coin in a freestanding viewing machine, which then ran the presentation.

They were often featured at seaside locations, showing (usually) sequences of women undressing or acting as an artist's model. In Britain, they became known as "What the butler saw" machines, taking the name from one of the first and most famous softcore reels. The title of this feature became widely used in Britain as a generic term for devices and movies of this kind.

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