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Dead medium: the Magic Lantern
From: s-herbert@easynet.co.uk (Stephen Herbert)
Source(s): *Magic Images - the Art of Hand Painted and Photographic Lantern Slides* (Magic Lantern Society, 1992); personal experience

Re: Stefan Jones's note on magic lantern slides (Note 24.7):

There were many, many magic lantern slide formats, over a period of three hundred years, in Europe, America and elsehere. Before the 3 1/4 inch by 4 inch (or 3 1/4 square) became popular, there were many sizes of wood- mounted slides, and many sizes of panoramic and long slides, both mounted and unmounted. (And that's just the static slide, not counting chromatropes, eidotropes, rackwork slides, etc.)

A system for cataloguing the mechanical slides, by John Barnes, appears in *Magic Images - the Art of Hand Painted and Photographic Lantern Slides* (Magic Lantern Soc. 1992).

For a while, the 3 1/2 square format had some degree of success in Europe, before 3 1/4 took over.

Children's lanterns continue to turn up, usually with their slides, all the time = there are literally hundreds of models, many made in Germany. In fact, (speaking as a toy lantern/projector collector), many of the plastic projectors of the 1950s are rarer, as = being plastic = they were easily broken, and consigned to the trashcan. (Or dustbin, as we say over here). The Victorian metal lanterns were less liable to get busted, and tended to end up in the back of a cupboard, or in the attic, where == apart from a bit of rust == they had a good chance of surviving for a century or so.

The art of toy lantern projection isn't (quite) dead. I gave a show at a friend's wedding party last summer, on an Ernst Plank (German) toy lantern c.1890s, using a small rear-projection screen and modern illuminant.

Stephen Herbert (s-herbert@easynet.co.uk)