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An Introduction to Lantern History: Part 1

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

An Introduction to the Introduction...
The Magic Lantern is the forerunner of the modern slide projector. It has a long and complicated history and, like lots of fascinating inventions, many people were involved in its development. No one can say for sure who invented the Magic Lantern. It is part of the marvellous world of optical projection and stands alongside the Camera Obscura, Shadow Shows and the Magic Mirror. Like them the Magic Lantern has been used to educate, entertain and mystify audiences for hundreds of years. Sturm lantern

Sturm Lantern, 1676

Over the period of a little more than 200 years the Magic Lantern developed from basic projectors such as the Sturm Lantern, capable of producing small, dimly lit images, to the magnificent Triunials, manufactured by such firms as J.H. Steward, W. Butcher and Son and W.C. Hughes. In the hands of a consummate showperson these fabulous machines could produce huge, brightly coloured, wonderfully animated entertainments for hundreds of people. Triunial Lantern

Triunial Lantern, 1890s

In these pages we hope to give an outline of a long and varied international history, but of course can only touch the surface. If you would like to know more about this fascinating subject, see the Society’s various Publications – or why not Join Us?
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