View Full Version : Magic Lantern Glass Slides

12-Oct-2015, 22:52
I've been digging into the history of photography at Yellowstone and keep finding glass slides for Magic Lantern. They do seem to be a uniform size. How were these made? I'm guessing they were made from regular negatives since I've seen some slides and some stereoviews that were exactly the same shot. Second question is when were they most popular? Did they co-exist with stereoviews for the most part? Finally, who would have bought them instead of a stereoview? All in all, they don't seem to command as high a price as the stereroviews on ebay.

Kent in SD

19-Oct-2015, 21:23
Well, nobody knows anything about glass "Magic Lantern" slides, so I did some digging. Started around 1855 with wet plate. Generally they were contact printed to glass. Magic Lantern itself goes way back to the 18th century, at least! Early slides were all hand drawn. The 19th century ones I'm interested in (from Yellowstone) were made from the same negatives as the stereo views, most often. The slides were used in private homes for parties by more affluent middle class, and also by traveling showmen/lecturers. They were a really big deal between 1870 and 1900, when motion pictures took over. After that they were mostly sold to schools for educational use. The bigger producer, Keystone, also was the biggest producer of stereoviews (cards, not Viewmaster reels.) They went out of business in 1963. I bought a few glass slides of images made before 1900, of Yellowstone.

Kent in SD

Randy Moe
19-Oct-2015, 22:44
Ok, how do we make better ones now? I would love to do giant slide projection.

Tech keeps changing, for my purpose a computer controlled laser beam image seemed too expensive last I looked.

I want something akin to a Bat signal gobo (https://www.gobosource.com/gos/index.php) in Gotham, they are expensive to rent and need a lot of juice.

The days of candle power magic lantern passed 150 years ago.

I tried 5x7 slides on an old OHP and it was not spectacular. :(

20-Oct-2015, 09:06
I used to do 'magic lantern slide shows' as our band played sometimes

my roommate at the time had a very nice B&L lantern slide projector (old school stock) and an assortment of super cheesy slides.. and we'd have him project crazy slides behind and on top of us while we murdered the songs

Art V
3-Feb-2016, 00:01
I have a large collection of 3.25 x 4 inch lantern slides made by someone who took a cross-country trip in the summer of 1919. In the collection are some hand colored Underwood & Underwood slides he purchased to add to his slide presentations... color photos of some of the places he visited and photographed in B&W. Having been curious about the process used to make these, I searched and found this: http://lanternslide.wikispaces.com/file/view/Lanternslide.pdf . This is a great manual that covers the complete process, including coloring. I've presented the program showing his trip, edited down to about 150 images, using his original 1917 Bausch & Lomb "Home Balopticon", a large convection cooled, dual lens, combination slide and opaque postcard projector. This served me well for years, but I was always a bit concerned that having convection cooling only was a bit "rough" on the slides. About 15 years ago I picked up an army surplus (1962) lantern slide projector made by the Buhle Optical Company. This unit has VERY efficient fan cooling of the lamp housing, and especially the slide carrier. Having been built for the military, it's really over-built, and was a bargain... purchased for $75 at the Photographic Historical Society of New England's semi-annual "Photographica" show. The projector was made around 1962, and comes in a heavy military trunk case, complete with extra lamps, fuses, and technical manuals. The exact military designation is: Projector, Still Picture AP-4(3). This is the Buhle unit. Earlier projectors... AP-4(1), AP-4(2) were made by Bausch & Lomb. The Buhle units turn up occasionally at used equipment shows. If you have a collection of lantern slides and want to project them safely, with minimal stress to the emulsion, a modern unit such as that made by Buhle is a good, inexpensive option.

Nodda Duma
3-Feb-2016, 03:13
That's good to know, thanks.

The local library holds periodic talks on interesting topics, and is a fairly popular event. The glass plate photos I have been taking around town lately have generated a fair amount of interest...I had scanned a few pictures of familiar landmarks and posted to the community Facebook page. So I have been asked to present in the fall.

I had been toying with the idea of presenting some positives with a magic lantern projector. Now I know what to watch for.

What size do you think it handles? I have been shooting 4x5.

3-Feb-2016, 05:24
For (manual) LF slideshows, I bought an old projector.
It is able to present from 24x36mm until 9x12cm.
I have 4x5" slides, so for the first check I had to cut a bit one of my slides to 9x12cm, but it look that a selfmade holder taking 4x5" slides will fit into the machine.

Second option of this beast is the use as a kind of overhead projector, so you are able to throw hole books onto a wall.
Page to page, of course...

And the best at last: the book-projecting lens has 420mm and only f/3,6 :-)




Chauncey Walden
3-Feb-2016, 12:09
Plaubel, what is the doohickey (technical term) sticking out on the bottom front?

3-Feb-2016, 12:56
Do you mean the "gearshift" on the left side of the picture?
With that, you can press the plate where the book comes to lie.
Puh. Doohickey...

The long and round part in the middle of the front (bottom) is the holder for the slide projection lens.
This are some cones which you can change ( length), depending on the slide size and the recommended projection lens.

The square behind the cone is the frame of the slideholder, where you can install a 24x36mm filmholder,too, which allows the usage of the complete filmstripe in one part, step by step. Or better pic by pic..

The machine weighs nearly 40 Kg. 36 Kg, i believe.

The big lens weighs nothing, but has a diameter of nearly 15cm, maybe 14cm.