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Three advertising Welcome slides. These 'motto slides' were often used by the lanternist at the opening of his magic lantern show. The slides above are respectively advertising Cadbury's Cocoa (Absolute Pure), Bovril (a thick, salty beef extract) and Beechams Pills (Worth a Guine a box).

Advertising slides were common in the 1870s. In 1876 The Globe reported that traffic in the Strand in London had been brought to a standstill by 'a gratuitous exhibition of dissolving views .... [giving] advice as to the best sewing machine, the cheapest hatter, where to dine, and the most popular newsagent.' Special clockwork street lanterns were designed for projecting a series of slides in succession.

In 1889 the Optical Magic Lantern Journal reported that most principal railway stations were showing lantern advertisements. The slides were changing automatically every 30 seconds, day and night. The clockwork mechanism needed to be wound up by railway staff once a week.

A patent was applied for an 'optical apparatus fitted to road vehicles for throwing images on a screen for advertising purpose', but is is not certain that the device was actually applied.
 
Advertising slides were often loaned or given away to lanternists free of charge from a wide variety of companies. After all those slides were one of the most effective ways of conveying their advertising message to a wide audience in those days. Some products that were regularly advertised were Bird's Custard Powder, Fry's chocolate and cocoa, Peak Frean biscuits, Dr Ridge's Baby Food, Elliman's liniment and Pears' soap.

Besides manufacturers of commercial products like soap and porridge also political parties used the medium to promote their 'products', their political ideas. Social organisations like the temperance movement used the magic lantern to cover a wide range of subjects including abuse of alcohol, gambling, child poverty and  advices concerning health and safety.
Slides were also used to convey the Christian message to the natives of various counties far away but also for missionary work at home. The Salvation Army and in Britain the Band of Hope were some of the largest organisations that often made use of the magic lantern.

 
Street lantern. Because of its very long focal distance this model magic lantern was suitable to project an advertising slide on a blind wall across the street.
 
  

 
Three slides advertising Cadbury's Cocoa.
 

Five slides with cheerful advertisements for Bird's Custard Powder.

       

 
 
Three slides advertising for Peek Frean Biscuits.
 
Two slides advertising for Beecham Pills. What are the Wild Waves saying? and a Hamlet parody. The third advertisement is for Mazawattee Coffee.
 


Beecham's Pills
were a laxative first marketed about 1842. They were invented by Thomas Beecham, grandfather of the conductor.
They were initially advertised like other patent medicine as a cure-all, but they actually did have a positive effect on the digestive process.
 
Two advertisements for Bovril. The first one has a caption on glass: 'Will you take it madam or shall I send it ?'. There is a label at the bottom of the slide that says:



BOVRIL LTD OLD STREET E.C    WILL YOU TAKE IT MADAM ?

The second slide has a caption on glass: 'I'll take it. Thank you'.
Both slides are 8.2 x 8.2 cm.
 
Three advertisements for the Beef extract Bovril ('The Gordon Highlanders will take it', 'Alas, my poor Brother', and 'Wherever did I put that Bovril!).
 
Again two nice advertisements for Bird's Custard Powder.

Arm-yard indignation (No Eggs Required) and A Proposal for every Lady.
 
This slide looks like an advertising slide for the dog biscuits made by Spratt's, but it is not. This is slide #11 from a funny series of slides made by Theobald & Co, England, 'The Fine Art Gallery', which is a comic skit on some celebrated paintings etc. The meet (meat) of her Majesty's Hounds. Mind the pun.

Spratt's was the world's first large-scale manufacturer of dog biscuits. Its "Meat Fibrine Dog Cake" was the brainchild of American entrepreneur James Spratt who launched the biscuit in London circa 1860.
 
Introduction Frolie Grasshopper Circus.

The manufacturer of porridge Quaker Oats shows in seven slides a variety of tricks of the 'Grasshopper Circus'. One of the firms that employed a 'story technique' to promote their products.
 
Advertisements for the supreme bread baked by Martinsville Bakery, Whitbread's beer and Smedley's garden peas.

 


Some advertisement slides for the Harley-Davidson motorcycle, for sale by Geo S. Burrows, Fond du Lac, a city in Wisconsin, United States. The name is French for Bottom of the Lake.
Slides have the American format, 
3.25"x 4" or 8.2 x 10 cm.
 
Two Good Night motto slide announce the end of our commercial magic lantern show. They advertise Bovril and Cadburry Cocoa again.
 
 
Two advertising slides carrying a political message: Proclaim Liberty throughout the Land, and Buy American (One for All, All for One).
 
 
Cinema theatres commonly used advertising lantern slides to promote upcoming films. These colourful 3.25"x 4" slides were widely used in theatres into the 1930. Probably because of the temporary use of the slides they were usually mounted in a simple cardboard frame. The theatres also used their lanterns to project all kind of messages, like 'Ladies, kindly remove your hats.' (Motto-slides)
 
Advertising slides are still in use nowadays in cinema advertising to promote the products of local traders in the pause.

 
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Last update: 19-08-2018.
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