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Lantern Slide Collection
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Lantern Slide Collection

  • 2017.017
  • Collection
  • 1820-1950

This collection consists of early optical devices commonly known as magic lanterns. The first report of the construction of a magic lantern is generally considered to be referring to the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens in 1659. The lanterns in this collection are dated from the early 1800s until the mid 1900s and include large professional devices as well as consumer models and toy magic lanterns.

The collection also holds over 500 lantern slides on a wide range of subjects. The slides demonstrate different iterations of glass slide projection and the evolution from hand-painted imagery to photographic and mechanical slides.

For more information about the history of magic lantern projection, please see our blog post:

Improved Phantasmagoria Lantern

A black tin Improved Phantasmagoria Lantern with handle and crooked chimney.

Carpenter marketed his Improved Phantasmagoria Lantern as a consumer version of the famous Phantasmagoria lantern shows that simulated ghost and spirit projections during the late 1700 and early 1800s. The name is a misnomer since Phantasmagoria refers to a type of projection rather than a type of lantern. The handle on the lantern was meant to accompany a larger professional magic lantern show with a small, mobile projector, or for small scale uses.

Carpenter & Westley

Lampascope Boule

The Lampascope Boule is a circular magic lantern projector with a hole at the base. This consumer lantern was meant to be placed on top of an oil lamp for home use. Lampascope projectors were elaborately painted with bright colours. This lantern is very faded but has remnant of red on the lens, and blue on the chimney.

Auguste Lapierre

Helioscopic Magic Lantern

A Helioscopic Magic Lantern with its original three-wick oil light tank. This model was created by English lantern and slide manufacturer and retailer Walter Clement Tyler, who opened a shop in London in 1885. The Helioscopic is one of Tyler's best known lantern, which went through several models. This lantern has the registration number 75681

Walter Tyler

Biunial Magic Lantern

A large biunial mahogany and brass magic lantern. Biunial or double lens projectors have two separate optical systems that allow transition effects such as dissolves between slides.

Toy Magic Lantern

Red lacquered, barrel shaped children's toy magic lantern. Simple model that could be used with a candle. Manufactured by the German toy company 'Gebrüder Bing'. Ignaz Bing and his brother Adolph Bing founded the retail company selling household items in 1863 and began to manufacture their own toys in the late 1870s.

Gebruder Bing

French Magic Lantern

Lantern with a black lacquered lantern body, a brass adjustable thread objective lens and an extendable chimney. This type of magic lantern would be used for presentations in large halls, and for educational uses in schools.

The manufacturer is most likely Laterne Universelle Clement et Gilmer (C&G), a French company established in the late 1800s in Paris. They produced lanterns with similar ornamental cutouts, and their lantern models had chimneys with adjustable heights.

Laterne Universelle C&G Paris


A hand-cranked 35 mm and small glass slide projector. This cinematograph was made after 1908 by the limited company Société Anonyme des Etablissements Demaria - Lapierre, when the two Lapierre brothers were obliged to amalgamate with the photographic manufacturer Jules Demaria. Cinematographs always had the ability to show loops, film strips from which the begin and end were glued together. For this purpose the upper reel was mounted above the apparatus on an extending bar. Longer films could also be showed but since there was not take-up reel the film would fall onto the floor or in a bag. The intermittent film transport was brought about by a rotating buckled rod that repeatedly struck the film down.

Auguste Lapierre

The Radioptican

Black with gold-trim picture and postcard consumer projector with adjustable telescopic lens. This model has two chimneys and two electric bulb fixtures. The Radioptican originally was made by the H. C. White Company of North Bennington, Vermont, that initially manufactured stereoscopes. In about 1915, the Keystone View Company took over production of the Radioptican, which continued to be widely used for educational purposes.

G.B.N. Magic Lantern

Simple magic lantern model mounted on a wood base. This lantern has the GBN (Gerbruder Bing Nurenberg) diamond trademark and the patent D.R.G.M. mark impressed on the back. The flap on the back of the lantern has a mirror to reflect the interior light source. This object is missing its chimney, but the 'Pharus' Model lantern by GBN should have a distinguishable crescent top chimney.

Gebruder Bing

M.C.C. No. 0 Magic Lantern

A wooden and brass enlarger/projector by The Midland Camera Co. Ltd. The Midland Camera Company of Birmingham, UK, added "Ltd" to their official title in 1905, but closed in 1911. This projector has "Ltd" it the inscription, dating the model between these two dates. This model has a wooden slide holder that fits 3" by 4" slides, standard measurements for English projectors.

The Midland Camera Co. Ltd.

Sciopticon Magic Lantern

Item is a Sciopticon magic lantern projector with a wooden base and lens panel, and an enamelled iron body and chimney. The body, lens tube can be adjusted and moved according to the distance of the projection and the chimney is retractable.

There are no distinct markings or plaques on this item to identify the manufacturer, but it has similar features to a Woodbury Marcy Sciopticon Magic Lantern

Lantern Slides

This series contains a variety of types of magic lantern slides, includes mechanical, oversized, panoramic, stereographic and the standard square glass slides. It also includes some slide carriers that were used to move glass slides in front of large magic lantern projectors.


This sub-series contains 31 glass lantern slides with various forms of mechanisms, including the rack and pinion, double pulley, single lever (or Fantoccinni) and glass slipping slides (with a single or double slipper).

A variety of techniques were developed in an attempt to create the illusion of movement in lantern slides. For instance, in the slipping slide, a glass overlay with selective blackout was used to conceal and reveal portions of the drawing. in a rack and pinion slide, glass discs were rotated using a handle. This mechanism was often used for chromatropes, or to demonstrate astrological concepts.

Rack and pinion

Sub-sub-series contains 14 mechanical lantern slides with rack and pinion mechanisms:

  • [Building with a chromatrope border]
  • Diurnal motion
  • No. 5: A Diagram to prove the Earth's Rotundity
  • [Blue and red star chromatrope with circles] By Newton & Co. Optician, Fleet St. London
  • [Yellow sun chromatrope] By Newton & Co. Optician, Fleet St. London
  • [Yellow and red sun chromatrope]
  • No.2: The Earth's annual motion round the Sun, shewing the parallelism of its axis, producing the Seasons
  • [Watermill]
  • No. 3: Diagram illustrates the cause of Spring and Neap Tides, and shows the Moon's Phase during its revolution.
  • [Solar system]
  • [Ship at sea]
  • [Orange and yellow painting]
  • P25: Owl [no visible mechanism]
  • [Blue and red star chromatrope]

Double pulley

Sub-sub-series contains 2 mechanical lantern slides with double pulley mechanisms:

  • Artificial fireworks No. 24: Carpenter and Westley, 24 Regent-Street, London
  • [Blue, yellow, red, black chromatrope]

Single lever

Sub-sub-series contains 5 mechanical lantern slides with a single lever, or Fantoccinni mechanisms:

  • [Squirrel on tree] by Newton & Co. Optician, Fleet St. London
  • [Man tipping hat to a woman in a building]
  • [Crocodile and a young boy climbing a tree] (contains outdated and offensive imagery)
  • [Camel and man] by W. J. Holland
  • [Man breaking stones with a hammer] by Newton & Co. Optician, Fleet St. London

Slipping glass

Sub-sub-series contains 10 mechanical lantern slides with a a single our double glass slipping mechanisms:

  • [Clown and two cats] by W. J. Holland
  • [Two ships at sea] by R.M. Adam
  • [Person with umbrella loosing wig] by Newton & Co. Optician, Fleet St. London
  • [Man and woman holding cups]
  • Dancing girl
  • [Man loosing his troupee]
  • [Man eating paint and woman with broom]
  • [Wizard conjuring demon] by R. M. Adam
  • A Stout Lad Wanted (panorama slipper)
  • Snuff "nose sniffer" (panorama slipper)


Sub-series contains 6 large rectangular glass lantern slides with wooden frames. The subjects of the slides include:

  • Little red riding hood
  • Wild animals (elephant, lion, tiger, polar bear)
  • Farm (girl, dog, cow, pitchfork)
  • Two castles and a house
  • 3 boys chasing after a dog with a watering can tied to the dog
  • Man warding off dog, man with umbrella, another man carving a boat
  • Various birds (toucan, peacock, falcon, and flamingo)

Individual Slides and Sets

This sub-series contains over 400 glass lantern slides on a variety of subjects, include story sets, people, plants, religious themes and geographic locations.

The mostly complete or full story sets include:
Caudle's Lecture
Punch & Judy
Calculating Cobbler
Robinson Curso
Foolish Bird and Artful Hedgehog
Willie's Revenge
Sweep and Whitewasher (contains offensive imagery)
Old Mother Hubbard
Coronation of King Edward VII
Elephant's Revenge
Tom Thumb
Jack and the Beanstalk
When There's a Will
Pussy's Road to Ruin
Rain While you Wait
The Swiss Family Robinson
The Honey Stealers
Alice in Wonderful
Nursery Rhymes


Sub-series contains panoramic lantern slides, with either one continuous illustrations or several smaller images on a rectangular slide. Subjects of the slides include wildlife, outdoor scenes, children's entertainment and monuments. The three complete panoramic story sets are Mickey Mouse in Pigmy Land, Mickey Mouse in Giant Land and The Wonderful Story of Dame Trot and her Pig.


This sub-series contains 49 stereo glass slides and 36 cardboard stereographs. The subjects of the slides includes landmarks, monuments and landscapes of locations across Europe,

Slide Carriers and Accessories

This sub-series contains 3 wooden slide carriers with different built-in mechanism to seamlessly move slides in front of a magic lantern projector. It also contains 3 wooden slide frames, one of which can have a 8 x 8 cm glass slide inserted. This frame has the engraving "Newton & Co."

Praxinoscope Theatre

This item consists of a Praxinoscope Theatre created by Charle-Emile Renauld in 1879.

This early animation device uses strips of hand-drawn animations placed on the inside a spinning cylinder with mirrors in order to view the animation reflected inside. This Praxinoscope Theatre has 9 hand-painted animated cardboard strips and 6 background illustrations, allowing the viewer to coordinate different animations

The Praxinoscope Theatre can be seen as a Theatre Optique adapted for a consumer and toy market. Instead of using a projector, the tabletop viewer allows users to look into a window to view the animated pictures. As stated on the device’s box, the toy could be placed by a window to use daylight, and at night a candle was used as the light source. The animation device and its components fit within a wooden box.