A Lantern Alphabet


Waterwheel Slide
One of the most popular types of rackwork slide, with a waterwheel painted on the moving glass that rotates in the centre of the slide. This makes it appear that the wheel is being powered by the water flowing in a mill stream powering a watermill. There are also effect sets of watermill scenes, in which the seasons pass, snow falls and the water freezes.
Wheel of Life
A form of moving slide where two discs rotate in opposite directions in front of each other. One disc has a slot in it which acts as a shutter, which rotates faster than the other disc which carries a series of pictures. When projected with the discs rotating, a sense of animated movement is given to the pictures projected from the second disc. This was an example of the projection of animated pictures before the invention of cinema.
Windmill Slide
Another type of rackwork effect slide, similar in concept to the Waterwheel slide but showing a windmill turning in the wind. The sails of the windmill are painted on the centre of the rackwork slide, so that turning the slide handle makes the sails move round.
Woodburytype Slides
A form of photographic slide made using a process patented by Walter Woodbury in 1864. A lead mould was formed from a photographic negative, and then used to produce positive slides by pressing a gelatine-based ink onto the slide glass. The varying thicknesses of ink created the variations in light and shadow of a very fine and delicate image.
Wrench and Son
An important London manufacturer of magic lanterns and slides throughout the 19th century. They were active (through several generations of the same family) from 1816 until the early 1920s. In the later 19th century they mainly operated as manufacturers and wholesalers, and their lanterns can be found in a range of different dealers’ catalogues under different names.


York and Son
One of the most prolific British slide manufacturers, based in west London. The business was founded by Frederick York in the early 1870s, and continued until the 1900s when it was taken over by Newton. York’s main products were standard 3¼ inch square glass slides, especially photographic views for travel and other lecture subjects and life model slides for stories and recitations. After 1890 their slides are marked with a distinctive ‘Y and snake’ trade mark.


A 19th-century optical toy which uses a vertical cylinder that can be spun around a pivot. Paper strips showing a sequence of images are placed around inner surface of the cylinder. Looking through slits in the wall of the cylinder as it rotates gives an impression of animation to the images.
The name used by Eadweard Muybridge to describe his form of magic lantern which projected a moving image. A sequence of images were photographed or painted on a rotating glass disc, giving a limited impression of movement when shown on the screen.