The first recorded form of animation dates back to 3000 years B.C however this was just a simple few frames drawn out on a pot that represent an animal jumping when animated.
The Magic lantern:
The Magic Lantern projects images using pictures on sheets of glass. Since some sheets contain moving parts, it is considered the first example of projected animation.
The first form of animation for entertainment purposes dates back to 1824, the Thaumatrope was invented for use as a child’s toy by John Ayrton Paris. It works by having an image on the front and back of a flat disk, the disk has two holes in either side and a piece of string on each side, when the string is twirled around the the disk spins and creates the illusion that the images are on top of one another.
In 1831 the Phenakitoscope was invented by Joseph Plateau, the basic principle involves spinning disks being reflected in mirrors to make it seem as if the pictures are moving,
The zoetrope was a hollow drum that housed images on long strips that spin around, this makes the images appear to move. The strips were interchangeable and so you could swap out the images to show a different animation on the same device.
In 1868 people started to create flip books, this soon became very popular and inspired the next generation of animators to invent new ideas. The flip book works on a very basic level, you flip the pages and the images change rapidly, to the reader it looks as if there is one moving image. Although it is a simple concept these flip books require precise and tedious work to make.
The Praxinoscope is very similar to the zoetrope design, instead this time using multiple wheels to rotate images allowing smoother animation. It is considered to have shown the first prototypes of the animated cartoon.
First Animated Film:
The first entirely animated film came out in 1906, this film used photography to create stop motion animation.
Information and Timeline details sourced from TheHistoryofAnimation.com