The magic lantern, sometimes called lanterna magica is an early type of image projector. Its origins are unknown, but may be German. Its date back to the 17th century, way before photography and electricity. It employed painted and printed pictures. Projections permitted presentations to audiences. This usually meant entertaiment (18th century). The development of brighter lighting and photography created many possibilities for magic laterns. Photography provided a wealth of interesting material that could be produced at low cost. It became an educatioinal tool accompasnying lectures on a widerange of topics. Missionaries used them to solicit donations. They used positive black and white images on glass. It was a kind of public version of the steroscope that proliferated in oeoipe's parlors withoiut the stereo aspect. We have found quite a number of these slides, mostly froim England. The magic klatern was superseded by a compact version -- the slide projector. Compact bright lights and the ability to hold large numbers of 35 mm photographic slides was a great improvement over the magic latern (mid-20th century). They could be used for home projection as well as public presentations.
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