Magic lantern slides dating of
In the late 18th Century several showmen used the lantern to produce horror shows. A variety of horrific images were projected to frighten the audience, examples being ghosts projected on smoke to give a frightening appearance and images that would move around the walls.Often the projector was behind a translucent screen, out of the view of the audience. One of the most famous Phantasmagoria showmen was a Belgian, Étienne Gaspard Robertson (1763-1837).The origin of Shadow Shows must go back to the time humans discovered fire, entertaining and terrifying each other with shadows on the walls of caves, using the fire as the source of light. They noticed that if strong daylight entered a darkened room through a tiny hole in the window shutter or curtain, a dim but clear inverted image of the outside world appeared on a white wall opposite the hole.The Chinese and Japanese made Magic Mirrors, the earliest recorded instance occurring in 5th century AD Chinese documents.Robertson used a special lantern on wheels, which he called a Phantascope or Fantascope.By moving the projector backwards and forwards he could rapidly alter the size of the images on the screen, much like a modern zoom lens.The device was very cleverly designed to keep the picture in focus and at a constant brightness as the machine moved back and forth.He presented his show in Paris, and later took it to Vienna and St Petersburg. 1, Mervyn Heard explained how Robertson 'stole' the idea from a German, Paul 'Philidor' or Paul de Philipsthal.
In his diary he wrote , in which he described a general projection arrangement for transparent and opaque objects.
Walgensten not only realised the technical and artistic possibilities of the Magic Lantern, but also its economic potential, travelling round Europe demonstrating and selling them.
A Frenchman, Balthasar de Monconys, recorded how he visited the London optician, John Reeves, on to be shown "how a bull's-eye lantern works".
From the 18th Century onwards hundreds of people were involved in the development of the lantern and its accessories.
As lenses, mirrors and especially light sources improved, projectionists could provide shows to larger audiences outside the home or laboratory.