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This special Mickey Mouse magic lantern set was made by special arrangement with Walt Disney, by Ensign Limited, London W.C.1, in the late 1930s. All the slides, boxes, packaging etc were made in Great Britain, while the lantern itself was made for Ensign in Czechoslovakia.

It's a children's toy. Safe to play with because it's battery operated. Actually the body is an ordinary portable battery flashlight. An attachment transforms the torch into a magic lantern.

The complete set is stored in a cardboard box that measures approx. 11 inches by 9 inches by 3 inches deep (28 cm x 22.75 cm x 7.25 cm).

The set includes numerous lantern slides. Among them three sets of Snow White (chapters 1, 2 & 3), some sets of early boxed Silly Symphony Slides (Mickey Mouse in Giant Land, Mickey Crusoe & The Night Before Christmas), each containing 12 slides. There is also a 24 slide set of 'Three Little Pigs' and a 16 slide set of 'The Pied Piper'. All of these sets came with a printed story leaflet (to be read in conjunction with the slides).

The whole projecting equipment disassembled into three main parts: the pocket torch type section which holds the batteries and the little light bulb, the stand in which the body is placed to make the whole more stable, and an adaptor with lenses and slide holder that changes the common torch into a magic lantern.

The on-off switch is on the front above the built-in reflector. The lantern is made of black tin and measures 4 inches high and 6 1/2 inches long (10 x 16.5 cm).

The inside of the battery compartment, showing the tin holder for a 4.5 V battery.

At the back of the hinged door of the battery compartment a red Mickey Mouse label is stuck.

At the side of the front lens tube
the patent number 21309 is engraved.

Two boxed sets of Walt Disney magic lantern slides by Ensign, ‘Three Little Pigs’ and ‘The Big Bad Wolf’. The first one is a set of six slides with reading sheet. The Big Bad Wolf Set is a set of four slides with reading sheet. The boxes measure 5.5" x 3".

The slides were made by litho-printing the pictures on to cellophane, a flexible, thin transparent material, which was then sandwiched between two sheets of glass. Picture quality was fairly crude and has become even worse through the years because the cellophane film has become crinkled and warped.



The fairy tale 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' consists of three chapters that are separately packed in a cardboard box. Each chapter takes up two glass coloured magic lantern slides with six pictures on each.

Right: The enclosed reading.


All packaging is marked 'Made in England by Ensign Limited by arrangement with Walt Disney Mickey Mouse Ltd'.


Policeman Donald -  12 Coloured Lantern Slides.
The set is completed by a fold up black and white cinema screen to show the slides on. The cinema has all the early Walt Disney characters on the sides with Mickey playing the piano on the front, just like in the old time cinema’s from that era.

Page from an Ensign General Catalogue c. 1940, advertising and demonstrating Ensign's Mickey Mouse Toy Lantern. Hardback, 160 pages.
See also:
- Mickey Mouse magic lantern outfit
- Mickey Mouse in 'The Delivery Boy'
- Magic Lanterns, Ensign.

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Last update: 06-08-2023.
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