Home Gadgets Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors

Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors

by admin

We all go to the movies, and as kids we watched cartoons on the wall. Almost everyone has projectors in the office, some at home, built into a tablet or as an add-on to a smartphone. Slideshows are firmly embedded in corporate culture, without which speeches and presentations are extremely rare. Where did it all begin? With the magic lantern, which could be used to scare the faithful, entertain people at fairs and hold lectures for seventeenth-century students.
Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors
So that at home. make projector, you’ll need a smartphone, a lens, and a box. Before we had mobile devices, we needed a separate light and a separate image carrier. Or a candle, a kerosene lamp, an oil lamp, and a glass with a pattern, which will be projected onto a plane or clouds of smoke.
Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors
The first projector appeared in the XVII century and was called "magic lantern". It was developed by a Dutch mechanic, physicist, mathematician and astronomer Christian Huygens who studied the behavior of light in Icelandic feldspar who produced a sketch wave theory of light and improved the telescope.
The optical principle of the "magic lanterns" is identical to that of the camera obscura, which was first used, presumably by Leonardo da Vinci. Huygens’ device consists of a body with a hole or lens. Inside is a source of light: at that time a candle or lamp, later an electric lamp. The image carrier was a glass plate. In the picture below you can see the chimney which is necessary when using oil lamps.
Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors
As well as Automatons since the eighteenth century, lanterns originally helped to entertain the nobility. Later, the device began to be used to entertain the common people, with the "magic lantern" sometimes hidden and images projected on puffs of smoke, scaring monsters and devils from the audience or telling them various stories at fairs. The Jesuits used projections to show the horrors of the underworld to the faithful.
Rischle’s Dictionary of Philosophy of 1719 defines the device as follows : "A small machine which shows in the darkness on a white wall various ghosts and terrible monsters; thus he who does not know the secret thinks that it is done by means of magical art."
Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors
The "solar microscope, " as a variant of the "magic lantern, " was another important step on the road to cinematography. The device allowed to show color images in motion. Such a device was used in his speeches by Jean-Paul Marat, a doctor and political figure of the Great French Revolution era.
Already since the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, technology has been increasingly used for scientific lectures and educational work. In 1878 in St. Petersburg the monthly magazine Magic Lantern which was designed for public readings using "foggy pictures, " which is another name for the images produced by this device.
In modern parlance, "speaking" means showing slides with text, pictures, and graphs. The visuals help to remember and draw the attention of the audience to certain aspects. Today, the word "presentation" has a clear synonym – PowerPoint And before every office started using lots of computers, there were, for example, kodoscopes. I remember this device from back in high school-they were used about fifteen years ago, and probably still are.
Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors
But static pictures are not as interesting as moving images. The first cartoons used special plates with multiple frames to show them. The spread of this format of entertainment led to the standardization of image media. It was another step on the road to cinematic art. "Lantern" with moving pictures was called "fenakistiscope, " which meant "trickster" and "to watch."
Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors
Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors
The design of the first such device was developed around 1830. And in 1878, the governor of California argued with a photographer about whether a galloping horse got all four legs off the ground. Another version of the story says that the photographer was simply fulfilling the governor’s order to analyze the horse’s movement. As a result, twelve cameras placed along the running track filmed the horse’s movement. For best results, the pictures were taken against a white wall. The cameras were then increased to 24 and the pictures were made into a moving image. The photographer’s name was Edward Muybridge, and he was the first to introduce the concept of "frame rate".
The Lumière Brothers, who had been showing films since 1896, used 16 frames per second. This was because the film flow rate was 1 foot per second – it was easier to count. In 1926, with the advent of sound film, a consortium of American film companies introduced the standard of 24 frames per second. This parameter was finally approved by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts in 1932.
Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors
In the nineteenth century, lanterns, which had long ceased to be a strictly high-society pastime, became available for home use to (almost) mere mortals. More and more lanterns were being produced, using a wide variety of housings. There were lanterns in the shape of houses, churches and Chinese pagodas, carriages and automobiles.
Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors
Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors
Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors
The lanterns with oil lamps were replaced by electric slide projectors. In fact, such devices differ little from the "magic lanterns" of two hundred years ago, except for the automatic slide show and the presence of a light bulb.
Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors
I had an FD2 as a kid – recognized it from the picture below.
Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors
Slide projector FD2. Source
Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors
Alpha 35-50 diascope. Source
Magic Lanterns: 200-year-old projectors
Svitazi-Avto Diaprojector. Source : Avito
In the Soviet Union, filmoscopes were popular – they were the same as a slide projector, only instead of slides, they used roll films. And some of you as kids had your parents show you stories about Cipollino, Aibolit the Little Red Riding Hood, or even about Alice from the 21st century ?

You may also like