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A Magic Lantern

A History Of The Magic Lantern - Page 1

NMLJ refers to the New Magic Lantern Journal, published by the Magic Lantern Society
NL refers to the Newsletter of the Magic Lantern Society

The Magic Lantern

Sturm lantern
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 where involved in its development. No one can say for sure who invented the Magic Lantern. It is part of the marvelous 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.
Tri-Unial Lantern

Sturm Lantern
1676

 
Triunial Lantern
1890's

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, or W C Hughes. In the hands of a consummate showman these fabulous machines could produce huge, brightly coloured, wonderfully animated entertainments for hundreds of people.

Over the next few pages we present a brief history of the Magic Lantern

Page 2 - The Projected Image

Page 3 - The Fathers of the Lantern

Page 4 - Who invented the Magic Lantern?

Page 4a - Christiaan Huygens

Page 5 - Further developments

Page 6 - Phantasmagoria and the rise of the Showmen

Page 7 - Robertson "stole the show"

Page 8 - The Galantee Showmen or Savoyards

Page 9 - The "Professors"

Page 10 - One Day in December...