The Magic Lantern is part of the marvellous world of optical projection and lantern slides can be found in many a second-hand shop. But how were they originally shown and to whom? From Samuel Pepys to the dawn of cinema, magic lantern shows ruled the world of the projected image and by Victorian times had become very sophisticated. The images on the slides themselves were works of art requiring highly skilled colourists and rival contemporary high definition pictures. Photography opened many more doors for magic lanterns.
Be entertained, be amazed, be there.
A bit of background:
On 28 December 1895 Louis and August Lumière gave their first public showing of the Cinématographe at the Grand Cafe, Boulevard des Capucines, Paris.
One conventional view says that from then on the lantern took second place. However, though the birth of the moving picture and its rapid growth certainly changed the world of the lantern, the reports of its death were very much exaggerated. Although less widely used for public entertainment, lantern projection continued in widespread use in areas like education and religious instruction.
From the 1900s onwards many of the smaller family lantern or slide businesses disappeared or were amalgamated with larger firms, but there were still lantern and slide suppliers trading until after the Second World War. From the 1950s the projected image found new uses and forms in the shape of the 35mm slide and new designs of projector like the Kodak Carousel.