Additional notes and plates on magic lantern


Magic Lantern

Magic lantern is not exactly the old form of the slide projector we have now. A long glass plate with several images on it was the typical slide used with a magic lantern (that's why it is called a slide, since the plate was slid to show the next image).

From the story slides of "Red Riding Hood" (part of the slide #3)

Male Flea (x16).    This image won a great reputation and was used widely for the hygienic education.

There were also a great variation of mechanical slides for animated images, combining more than two glass plates, often one of them meant for a “mask”. 

The beer drinking man below is a typical old “slip slide”, combining a hand-painted glass plate showing a man with round belly (against black background) and a mask plate that hides the round part of his belly. A showman could either slowly pull the mask plate to let the man’s belly grow, or quickly pull and push the mask slide to make a funny two-frame animation. The “Brewing fountain” shows the year 1869.

Many mechanical slides were fabricated to show the relationship between the movements of the earth and the sun, the moon and other planets.

While slides for family use mostly told stories, there was a great production of slides for scientific or hygienic education.

We can find many glass slides showing microscopic or astronomic images as well as images of animals or plants.

From the educational slide series depicting butterflies and their larvae.

After cinema was invented magic lanterns for projecting films were developed both for theatrical and home use.

Magic lanterns are therefore different from slide projectors we have now, which are meant for still and single images.

Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography has a large collection of magic lanterns from the last centuries.

Perpetual motion of a man cutting a wood is realized by moving the lever up and down.

c. late 19c, probably British.

Magic lantern show is enjoyed by a rich family and their guests. On the screen a British officer is about to cut what they called “pigtail” of a Chinese man off with his sword. An image of the Colonialism era from “The Illustrated London News”, 1858.