Glossary & Lantern Alphabet
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Camera Lucida - A device used in drawing. A prism is used so that when the artist is looking at a scene, one eye is looking at the scene and the other is looking, through the prism, at the sheet of paper the artist is drawing on. This enables the artist to reproduce the scene accurately on the paper.
Camera Obscura - The forerunner of the camera, an enclosed chamber or box where a lens or pinhole in one face of the box creates an inverted image on the opposite face.
Carpenter & Westley - A major firm of magic lantern manufacturers, initially based in Birmingham, later based in London.
Choreutoscope - This was a type of magic lantern slide invented by L S Beale in 1866. A series of pictures are projected, and there is a shutter mechanism which shows the pictures one by one. A good impression of movement is created.
Chromatrope - Chromatrope slides are Rackwork slides in which either one glass rotates and the other is fixed or both glasses rotate in opposite directions. The two glasses have patterns painted on them which interact to produce a moving pattern on the screen.
Condenser - The section of the optical system of the lantern which concentrates the light from the illuminant on to the slide. It usually consists of two plano-convex lenses with the convex sides facing each other.
Curtain - On a Biunial or Triunial lantern there is usually a shutter which moves vertically just behind the slides to shut off the light from one slide while opening the light to another slide. This enables a range of effect slides to be projected where the effect changes vertically. The most common of these slides is the curtain slide, where a slide showing a theatre with a closed curtain is in one slide carrier, a slide showing a theatre with an open curtain is in the other, and moving the shutter in the lantern raises or lowers the curtain on the screen.
Cycloidotrope - A type of magic lantern slide where a pattern is drawn by a pointer on a glass which has been covered in soot from a candle. The gearing of the pointer means that on turning a handle a series of patterns are created on the slide, and projected. The patterns are similar to the children's toy, the spirograph.
Dancer - A manufacturer of Magic Lanterns and other optical devices. They were based in Manchester and were active between 1845 and 1885.
Dissolve Set - A set of two or more slides in which there are similar pictures on each slide but with a change of state. An example would be two slides of the same picture, one in daytime and one at night. Putting both slides in the two slide carriers of a Biunial lantern and fading from one to the other gives the impression of night falling.
Double Slipper - A form of Slipper slide which has two moving glasses, so that two different aspects of the original picture can change.