I read a few books on the subject (the best ones are by Cozy Baker), and learned about the Brewster Society, which she started.
I visited an amazing collection of scopes in Fullerton at the Eileen Kremen Gallery, purchased a few, and began learning a little bit about stained glass, so I could construct my own scopes.
I also started programming kaleidoscope simulations in various languages, including Java, C++ and Flash actionscript.
I have collected a few of these screensavers, and a lot more kaleidoscopic goodness at my website KrazyDad.Com
I am probably the first person to create a computer simulation of a specific real-world kaleidoscope. My Charles Bush Kaleidoscope employs photos of the glassworks of a real 19th century kaleidoscope.
A few years ago, I created my website krazydad.com expressly for the purpose of selling a shareware kaleidoscope screensaver called Metascope. The website has greatly evolved since then, and it is now my principal website & blog. I no longer sell shareware, choosing instead to "give everything away". One of the more popular toys on krazydad.com allows you to convert your photos to kaleidoscopic images.
Several years ago, I lectured about Kaleidoscopes at the GEL conference in New York City.