British naturalist and nature documentary pioneer Percy Smith created this short silent film of a mechanical replica spider in 1909 to educate the public about arachnids. To Demonstrate How Spiders Fly can be found in the British Film Institute National Archive, an organization dedicated to collecting British and British-related films and TV programs.

Next: “Flying” spiders that can glide through the air from tree to tree and a newly-discovered species of cartwheeling spider.

Also: Georges Méliès: L’homme à la tête de caoutchouc (1901).

via @DrJoeHanson.

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