Sorts of magic lanterns
Special magic lanterns
A division into manufacturers

Sorts of magic lanterns


Sorts of magic lanterns

Toy or Children's magic lanterns    Parlour magic lanterns    Large magic lanterns or Sciopticons    Plural magic lanterns    Special magic lanterns, cinematographes, episcopes    Fancy magic lanterns

An attempt to divide the large variety of magic lanterns into some categories: toy- or children's lanterns, parlour lanterns, large lanterns or sciopticons, plural lanterns, special lanterns and fancy lanterns.

Cinematographs, movies on the magic lantern
Manufacturers reacted to the rivalry of the motion picture by making magic lanterns that were able to show moving films too.

Biunials and triunials, plural mahogany and brass magic lanterns
Genuine biunials are quite rare nowadays. They are much sought after by collectors and by every self-respecting modern lanternist.

Episcopes and epidiascopes
An epi(dia)scope is a magic lantern that is able to project (also) opaque images and three-dimensional objects.

Filmstrip lanterns
From c. 1890 some magic lanterns were produced for the use of translucent celluloid filmstrips.

Ceramic Magic Lanterns
Ceramic lanterns are magic lanterns that have a ceramic body, mostly decorated with colourful floral motives. Because of their vulnerability, they are very scarce nowadays.

Battery operated magic lanterns.
Flashlight magic lanterns are, just like other battery operated magic lanterns, always  simple children’s toys. Actually the body is an ordinary portable battery flashlight. An attachment transforms the torch into a magic lantern.

Biscuit tin magic lanterns.
Magic lanterns, sometimes manufactured industrially but mostly wonderful feats of home handycrafts, made from old biscuit tins and other packages.

Doll's house magic lanterns and other miniatures.
Magic lanterns, lantern slides, stereo viewers and other optical devices that are so small that they fit into a doll's house.

Film projectors and Slide projectors.
When is a projection device still a magic lantern and when should we start talking about projectors ? The dividing line is not easy to draw. The projectors on this page are not real magic lanterns, but still they are often fun, touching, interesting, special and you name it.


Special magic lanterns

The Youth's Companion
Perry Mason's Ideal Magic Lantern as a premium for the readers of a widely read American youth magazine.

Mickey Mouse Magic Lanterns.
Mickey Mouse magic lantern outfit
The British Ensign ltd produced this toy lantern and slides, based on the early Mickey Mouse, Silly Symphonies and feature-length cartoons.
Mickey Mouse toy lantern outfit
Actually the body is a common portable battery flashlight. An attachment transforms the torch into a magic lantern.

The Johnson Disney filmstrip projectors and strips.
Also Johnsons of Hendon made flashlight projectors for showing Disney film strips.

Magic Lanterns, out of the ordinary.
Some magic lanterns deviate substantially from the normal magic lanterns; for instance by their shape, their use, or the objects and materials they can project.

Dual lens alternating image projectors.
The animation principle is simple but clever: the film has two superimposed series of images and, while the film is moving, the projector alternately displays an image of each series, creating an illusion of movement in chained sequences.




Parts and accessories
Besides his magic lantern and a good amount of slides, a lanternist in the nineteenth century needed a lot of other helpful articles when he had to illuminate a lecture with his lantern slides.

Lecturer's reading lamps
How the man at the screen could communicate with the man at the magic lantern.

Light in the darkness
Without the presence of light no magic lantern might exist. Therefore one of the most important parts of a magic lantern is ....... the light source.

A lot of different light sources that have been used in the magic lantern.

Preliminary hints to Amateur Lecturers.
Hints for a successful public reading using a magic lantern and some other apparatus.




The Phantasmagoria was a particular application of the magic lantern. The shows can be considered as the ancestors of today’s horror movies.
The magic lantern in three dimensions.
Because of the relationship with the magic lantern almost every collector of magic lanterns has some stereoscopes in his collection.

A magic lantern at the bottom of the sea.
Pretty finds in the water of the North Sea. What do magic lantern slides look like after a stay of many decennia under water?

Fabulous finds in Second Life.
Second Life is a virtual world that is accessible on the Internet. I was very surprised to find there a good working magic lantern. A splendid bi-unial!
And I found more!

A complete magic lantern outfit
The perfect birthday present for father and son, around 1900.
A Carette magic lantern with slides in a cardboard box.

How To Make A Magic Lantern
as described in The Book Of Knowledge (c. 1910). Many detailed drawings included.

ROKR Vitascope, building kit for a real working antique film projector
Build a real working antique film projector with this interesting building kit from ROKR.

Build your own Laterna Magica
A pre-punched cut out for a real working magic lantern with battery operated light source.


A division into manufacturers

Gebrüder Bing  G.B.N or B.W.
Georg Carette & Co.  G.C.Co.N.
Max Dannhorn  M.D.
Johann Falk  J.F.
Ernst Plank  E.P.
Jean Schoenner  S.N. or J.S.
Ica - Aktiengesellschaft Dresden.


Louis Aubert

Great Brittan:

Archer & Sons
W. Butcher & Sons
W.C. Hughes
Newton & Co.
Perken, Son & Rayment. (Optimus)
Walter Tyler
Ensign Ltd.
W. Watson & Sons
John Wrench

John Lizars

Bausch & Lomb, New York.
Keystone Manufacturing Company.
The Pettibone Manufacturing Company.
Victor Animatograph Co.
Williams, Brown & Earle.
Queen & Co., James W.

Various manufacturers and suppliers, England.
Various manufacturers and suppliers, Germany.
Various manufacturers and suppliers, France.
Various manufacturers and suppliers, Rest of Europe.
Various manufacturers and suppliers, U.S.A.
Various manufacturers and suppliers, Various and unknown.


An extensive list of
Manufacturers, importers and retailers.
What is the meaning of the trade mark you find on lanterns, slides or boxes?
Go quick to the manufacturer you are looking for. Click the first letter of the name.

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Last update: 09-02-2024.
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