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Motto slides hold a short message or greeting, mainly used by the lanternist to welcome his audience or to say good-bye to them, but also to urge them to behave themselves (‘Silence !’). An English catalogue of 1894 lists well over a hundred motto's. Among them the introductory slides with texts like 'Welcome', ‘Good Evening’, ‘Good Night’, ‘Adieu’ and ‘Farewell’ are most common.

The motto's might also be seasonal, to wish you ‘A Merry Christmas’, ‘A happy New Year’ or ‘Compliments of the Season’. Also patriotic (‘God Save the Queen’) or sacred (‘God bless you) motto slides were frequently used. Particularly suited for a performance on the occasion of a birthday was ‘Many Happy Returns of the Day’.

A special kind of motto slides are the advertising slides. The village theatre lanternist could obtain these colourful slides mostly free of charge from a lot of companies: manufacturers of chocolate, biscuits, bikes, soap and various other articles. Some advertising slides, like Cadbury’s Cocoa’s, combine an advertisement with a motto like “Good Night’ or ‘Welcome’. Even political parties used the slides sometimes to promote their policies.

Many motto slides have the name of the maker and sometimes a copyright message hidden beneath the paper binding tape.
A set of motto slides by John Theobald.

Motto sheets could be purchased by the piece, but sometimes manufacturers and suppliers also put them on the market as a set of slides.

The English manufacturer and wholesaler of an impressive amount of magic lantern sets John Theobald (1858-1926) sold this box with a series of twelve motto slides. The subjects were diverse: welcome and good night greetings, a Christmas wish, calls to silence and to give utterance to satisfaction, and even a 'long live the king'.

This website contains a very comprehensive catalog of the lantern slides from Theobald.

3. British slipping slide measuring approx.7 by 4 inches. Herald rolling and unrolling a scroll with a 'good-night' message, thus unveiling his sturdy calves again and again.
7. Handpainted slide which the projectionist would have used to start his magic lantern show. It is encased in a mahogany frame.




Unashamed yawning girl with a candle saying GOOD NIGHT inside a floral wreath. Slipping slide. The wooden frame measures 7 x 4 x 3/8 inches.
2-5. Advertising slides from Cadbury's Cocoa.
8. A severe looking schoolmaster with a cane. His eyes move in a  frightening way from side to side and he has the word SILENCE below him. This slipping slide is the one the lanternist would have used when he completely lost his temper with the kids (7 x 4 inches).
9. The last one of a lovely set of twelve slides about Punch and Judy (3.25 x 3.25 inches).
2. Dutch riddle slide. The characters sound when read aloud: 'Ha Ha, ik zie Emma thee zetten!' (He he, I see Emma, making tea!')
Lovely hand coloured lantern slide for the close of a presentation showing two scarcely clad nymphs flying about, and the word's GOOD NIGHT above.
Please, please, PLEASE keep those children quiet!!!! This slide was made by the U.S. Slide Co., 3112 1/2 Troost Ave, Kansas City. Measurements 3 1/4" x 4".


7. Superb old black and white show closer with dancing cherubs and a candle ready to be extinguished. Made by McAllister, New York. Measures 3 1/4" x 4". 
8. Dutch welcome slide saying 'Welkom!'.
9. Mahogany mechanical slide, ca 1880 with a chromatrope.
Size 7" wide without the handle.



Slipping slide in a wooden frame
      7 "x 4" (18 x 10 cm).



1-9. Sizes of all these slides are 3 ¼" (8,2 cm) square.
1. Circular slide mounted in a wooden frame.  3. McAllister, New York. sizes 3 1/4" x 4".
6. Fitted in a wooden frame measuring 7" x 4". 
8. This festive slide is 3 1/4" x 3 1/4" and shows a happy band of Christmas revellers inside the central motif. 
9. Slide measures 3 1/4" x 3 1/4" and has paper tag under glass that reads: "W. Tyler. Magic Lantern and Slide Manufacturer 48 Waterloo Road S.E."


This charming lad ends the magic lantern show by wishing his audience a "Good Night". The slipping slide is fitted in a tin frame; a single piece of glass is moved across a circular window to display the two images in turn.



Sizes of all these slides are 3 ¼" (8,2 cm) square.
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Last update: 26-05-2021.
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