Homepage 'de Luikerwaal' A magic lantern at the bottom of the sea.
What do magic lantern slides look like after a stay of many decennia under water?
FOGO ISLE bestaat niet meer, dus dit is geen reclame.

(Wreck diving and events on the North Sea.)

Some years ago I received an interesting e-mail from a man called Rob (Unfortunately I lost his family name; When you read this Rob, please let me know.....):

(translated from Dutch)

Diving trip August 2003, location: The North Sea.

It all started with a diving trip on the North Sea. We should stay for a week at the location of the Elbe on our ship, the Fogo Isle. On board were some forty guests and a group of companions, among which I was one. After having made some dives already, my buddy and I jumped again overboard to try another direction. Arriving at the wreck we turned to the right and when I pointed my lamp at an object, the square shape attracted my attention. I decided to subject it to a closer inspection. After some rooting the object turned out to be a wooden chest or something like that. A few minutes later I had made free as much of the object that I could see that it contained some small plates of glass. They were stuck to a side of the chest so strong that I first had to empty the box completely before I should be able to take out the glass. During these activities some other objects turned up, that resembled round brass tubes. Inspecting them better I saw that it contained a kind of lens. Then I knew that I had found something special. I went on digging very carefully and soon I had a bag full of brass rings, tubes, etc. I fastened the bag to a ring of my diving equipment and went upwards. On board I started with the help of some other men to clean the brass objects and after some time we could easily recognise what everything was. However the glass plates were still at the bottom. Next day we went down again and I started to dig at the same place. After some minutes the glass plates were set free and I put them in a small bag. .... While I made efforts to free the glasses the little chest fell apart.

I also found some wooden parts that had a small glass fixed in front to it, but by drying them they are very warped now.

On board we put the slides in water, but that turned out to be a bad idea, because the images started to dissolve. We took them rapidly out of the water and dried them on a towel. After that we put all slides between two thick plastic planks to prevent damage during the transport to home. There I stored the slides safely and tried to find a way to conserve the images. According to the Nationaal Fototechnisch Lab I needed a particular acid free tape and after looking for it for two month I found that. Recently I put the brass parts in a cleaning bath and cleaned them ultrasonic. The images are covered with a kind of salt moisture that I also want to have removed, so that I can show a more lucid picture.

He sent me some photo's of the parts he found. Unfortunately I lost some of them.

On account of the photographs and the further corespondence we could determine that the lantern he found was of the type Gloria, and made by Ernst Plank (E.P.). A good conserved Gloria-lantern looks like this one:

However, most interesting are the photographs of the slides that he sent me. The salt seawater gnawed at the images, but yet they are in a relative good condition:

Compare the last slide with an good conserved one:

In the summer of 2007 the wreck diving charter Fogo Isle made her last voyage on the North Sea. After six active seasons the management decided to sell the ship. A painful loss for the Dutch wreck divers.
Thanks to Rob.  
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