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Magic Lanterns, manufactured by
The French family Lapierre was a family of magic lantern, slide and cinematograph manufacturers.

Auguste Lapierre set up a small-scale metal workshop in Paris in 1848, specialising in toy lanterns. In 1860 Lapierre filed a patent for a method of stamping out plate metal that enabled him to produce at a cheaper rate than his principal rival in this trade, Louis Aubert. Soon he became the leading manufacturer of toy lanterns in France. His slides, initially hand-painted, but later mass produced, took over the French slide market too. These slides are easily distinguished by their green paper binding.

After the retirement of his father, Edouard Virgile Lapierre launched new designs of lanterns, like the Lampadophore and the Luciphone, which combined a lantern and a phonograph in the same casing. He took over control of his rival Aubert and moved his workshops into the former Aubert premises.

In 1902 the company was transformed into Lapierre Frères et Cie, a partnership between Edouard and his two sons Maurice and René Lapierre. However the sons were less successful than their father and were obliged to amalgamate with the photographic manufacturer Jules Demaria in 1908. Later on, in 1921 René founded a new company and he was still producing 9.5 mm film projectors as late as the 1950s.

Lampascope Carré, 1880

A lampascope is a magic lantern placed on top of an oil lamp, usually an ordinary household table lamp. Most lampascopes were globular models, like the Boule (see below). Others, like this Carré, are less rounded,  embellished, and attractively polychromed in translucent alcohol varnishes. They were fitted with a long cylindrical chimney and a reflector filled with sand at the back to counterbalance the lens.


The model Carré was sold in six sizes and a lot of designs.


Lampascope Carré, 1893.

Special design mounted on a stand that contains an oil lamp. Lantern and stand are both bronzed. Around 1900 also Carré's made of polished aluminium were produced.

Sizes 30 x 20 x 59 cm.

Lanterne Carrée, 1880
(double e!)

Same design as the small rectangular lantern that was produced by Aubert. Lapierre's lanterns, though less well-finished than those of Aubert, were cheaper and more often sold.

The oldest design is distinguishable by the cylindrical feet (1845). The second design from 1860 has cone-shaped feet and the youngest design has cast, decorated feet, like the one on the photo right. The last mentioned was produced in nine sizes for many years.

One of the first 'Carrée' lanterns, with cylindrical feet, c. 1845. Only 8" (ca 20 cm) high.

One of the last versions of the 'Carrée' lanterns, with profiled feet, c. 1870. This one measures 7 inches (18 cm) front to back and stands 9.5 inches (24 cm) tall.
At first glance, this lantern looks like an ordinary Lanterne Carrée by Lapierre. However, it was manufactured in the 1880s by the son of the company founder Auguste Lapierre, Edouard Virgile Lapierre under the E.V.L Paris brand.
Tin painted with alcohol lacquer. Dimensions 18 x 9.5 x 24 cm. Adjustable lens with lens cap. In sturdy cardboard box of 28 x 25.5 x 10.5 cm.


Lanterne Chinoise, 1880

'Modèle très soigné avec décors de style, livré en carton avec 12 vues en peinture fine sur verre.' (advertisement)

Model with stylish decoration, delivered in cardboard box with 12 glass hand painted slides.

Made of tin, painted with a red alcohol varnish; the roofs are blue. Transfers with Chinese patterns on both sides. Was available in four sizes, 25, 27, 31 and 36 cm high.

Lampascope Boule, 1880

This Lampascope Boule is designed to fit on top of a domestic oil lamp to use its light. The oldest specimens are translucently lacquered. Overall height is 13 inches, with the body being 7 inches in diameter.

The Lampascope Boule was later also sold with a bronze lacquer applied to the metal. There is a hole in the bottom for placing the lantern on the top of an house hold oil lamp.

Lampadophore, 1886

The Lampadophore is a lampascope, complete with its own oil lamp base. It was made in distinctive nickled brass and is embossed with a lion's head and a ring-shaped handle on either side of the lamp house.

A later produced polychrome Lampadophore was able to show images arranged around a circular glass slide. The Lampadophore was sold in several sizes.
Lanterne Riche, 1880

Polychrome magic lantern made by Edouard Lapierre around 1884. At this period the company produced a very popular range of lanterns for children, decorated with a characteristic transparent coloured lacquer: the Lanterne Salon, the Lanterne Bijou, the Lanterne Médaillon, the Lampascope Carré, the Lampascope Boule and the Lanterne Riche.

Size approx 13.5" x 9.5" x 6" (34 x 24 x 15 cm).


Photo: ©Pierre Patau, antiquetoysandgames.com.

Lanterne Bijou, c. 1880


Beautiful decorated French magic lantern, c. 1870.
This lantern was made in a bare nickel version, and in a multicoloured tin version, both only one size. This is the smallest model magic lantern made by Lapierre. The lantern is placed on a tapering pedestal with a build in oil lamp.
Sizes: 18 cm high; 24 cm including pedestal.
Probably made by Lapierre. A small brass plate above the lens holder reads "Breveté SGDG". The lantern is 12" (32.5 cm) high.

Lanterne Salon, 1880
Beautiful magic lantern in original box.

Lapierre´s magic lanterns were mostly accompanied by mass-produced slides, printed in outline and subsequently coloured by hand, distinguishable by their green paper binding at the edges.


Lanterne Salon, boxed  with accompanying magic lantern slides.

Characterizing French magic lantern sides that could be shown by LaPierre's magic lanterns.


Lanterne Cartoscope

Episcope for the projection of post cards.

Lanterne Medaillon, 1880

Multicoloured lacquered tin. Was produced in 4 sizes.

A kinematograph made by Lapierre that differs greatly from the characteristic design of almost all other lanterns from this manufacturer. The film transport takes place by means of a Maltese cross, the points of which we see protruding besides the sprockets. The projection lens can be flipped to the side, after which an upward-hinged mask with a rectangular cut-out can be flipped up when projecting lantern slides.
In addition to the text 'Lapierre - Cinéma', we also find the letters 'UNIS FRANCE' at the Lamphuis. The last text indicated that it was a French product. It was a national label and therefore not a trademark, as we often think *.

This cinematograph was probably released shortly before or during the merger with Demaria, after which the company continued as Demaria-Lapierre.
 *   UNIS-FRANCE was an organisation in which a large number of French companies was united. It was established probably during or shortly after the First World War in Paris, and existed up to the 1930s. UNIS is short for 'Union Nationale Inter Syndicale'. Aim was the promotion of French products, while it was a kind of quality brand too. It can be considered as a counterbalance for the mention 'Made in Germany'.

On this lantern the indication UNIS-FRANCE is placed in a sharp oval near which also some numbers are printed, but also other versions of the logo are known.
Cinematograph "Lapierre Cinema". Model circa 1915. With a crank for projecting animated images on small flexible 35 mm films and images onto glass. The lantern came in a burgundy box containing the lantern, two sets of small glass magic lantern slides and a 35mm wide celluloid film.

See also: magic lanterns from Demaria-Lapierre
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Last update: 30-06-2022.
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