English Photography: Magic Latern Slides

English magic latern slides
Figure 1.--The number of magic latern slides increased significntly with the advent of photography (mid-19th century). Sudenbly all kinds of interesting slides could b produced at low cost for an imsge hungary public. We see a shift from entertaiment to education. Lecturers were popular at a time before movies, radio, and television. And lecturers began using magic latern slides to add visual material to their presentations. Here we see Windsor Castle. It began as one of the first Norman castles begun by Willim the Conqueror after invading England (11th century). The modern castlke of course is more recent. Here we see a mgic latern view about 1860. Click on the imsfe for a closeup.

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 The magic klatern was superseded by a compact version -- the slide projector.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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Created: 10:31 AM 5/1/2018
Last updated: 10:31 AM 5/1/2018