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Magic Lantern 
Picture Postcards 1.

Before the widespread use of telephone and e-mail the PICTURE POSTCARD was a quick and cheap method of communication.

A favourite hobby of those days was postcard collecting. Virtually every household had someone with an album, collecting cards sent by friends and relatives from all over the world. Many cards were sent with the purpose of giving information about family matters like health, death and births; many others however were sent just to add to the collection and contained little by way of a message.

In the mid 1940s a new type of postcard collector began to appear. These collectors are mainly interested in the picture content of the old cards and collect often only picture postcards with a specific subject. This page shows some nice postcards on the subject of 'the magic lantern'.

Front and reverse of a splendid early postcard (ca 1905). It seems that it's depicting a political affair. The title is 'The Oracle'. An adding text says: 'Britannia, Hibernia, S..... and America assembled to consult the oracle on the present situation of Public Affairs. Time acting as Priest. ' (text difficult to read). A winged man (Time) is projecting interesting images on the wall using an old magic lantern.
Front and reverse of another postcard from the same series. The card is written and stamped 1907. The winged man is projecting another picture on the wall. Title: THE TEA-TAX TEMPEST of the Anglo-American Revolution. Printed in Germany. LANGE Serie 1, L.Schwalbach No. 11. Copyrighted 1903.
1910 American New Years Postcard.
This great, old New Years Greetings postcard shows a magic lantern projecting a pretty girl. The card is heavily embossed.

1910 Magic Lantern Themed Christmas Card.
This is a beautiful early Christmas card with a magic lantern projecting an image of angels. It belongs to the same series as the card before.
Partly embossed.

This embossed Christmas card is postmarked 1908. Father Christmas dealing sweets. From the same series. And another one from the same series. Best Wishes for Christmas. On the back the message 'Dear Edille, Don't eat yourself sick. .... Alice'.

Two other samples from the same series. Chromolithograph with embossing and applied glitter.
(Left above) Magic Lantern postcard, "Amitié Sincère" 1890.
Nice French embossed Greeting postcard (Sincere Friendship). Size: 13,9 cm x 9 cm. Lantern and four-leaf clover are embossed.

(Right above) French postcard from the same series, circa 1890.
'Meilleurs Voeux', Best Wishes.
Size : 5,5 x 3,5 inches (13,9 x 9 cm).
This German postcard features a romantic poem:

Was ist, was so flüstert und singet und klinget
Von Tälern, von Bergen, vom Waldessaum licht
Als Botschaft der Treue ins Menschenherz dringet?
Das Blümlein, es sagt Dir's "vergiss mein nicht".

What is it what whispers and sings and sounds
from valleys, from mountains, from the edge of the wood
Penetrates the human heart as a message of faith?
The little flower that tells you "don't forget me".
Old Valentine card from about the 40's. A young lad showing pictures to a young girl. The boy uses a black moving projector on a tripod. Unfortunately a part of the front image is damaged.

At the bottom the poem:
I'll show you moving pictures
And throw them on the screen
And hope that you will tell me
They are the prettiest you have seen.

Revolving disc on the red coloured heart shows four different images.
Size: app. 9" tall (23 cm).
Another American Valentine postcard. 'Revolving Pictures' series number 2221, published by the Ullman Manufacturing Co., New York, with a revolving disc showing in succession a crown (Power), a heart (Love) and a bag filled with money (Gold). The poem on the card says:

Come Cupid, bring your camera
And photograph my Lady's heart
I want to see if Gold, or Power
Or Love plays the important part.

1907, New York.
French Rotogravure Magic Lantern Postcard circa 1880, printed for New year greetings: 'Bonne et Heureuse Année'.
Size : 5,5 x 3,7 inches (14 x 9,5 cm).
Another postcard from the same series. Same girl, same magic lantern, same easel, same text. Only her mother, or was it her 'gouvernante', has gone. Size: 5,5 x 3,7 inches (14 x 9,5 cm).

Nice black and white postcard depicting a magic lantern show. Presented is the famous mechanical slide of the 'mouse-eating man'', a double slipping slide.

French card with New Year Greetings (Bonne Année). The card is signed by the artist André Hellé and was published by P.J. Gallais et Cie, editeurs, Paris. No. 318, c. 1910.


(Thanks to Jean-Philippe Salier, France)



Magic lantern show presented by a mouse for a small group of mouse children. Behind the card is a cardboard disc. When rotated it shows eight images at the screen.

Artist: Dick Vandé.


A very old Dutch postcard depicting some kittens looking at a magic lantern show. 'Voor goed gedrag belooning: Een bioscoop-vertooning.' (In reward for their good behaviour: a cinema show.)

(Thanks to Simon van Blokland, the Netherlands)

Another Dutch postcard. 'In de poesenbioscoop' (the cinema for pussycats). Mirror image of the same picture, now in colours...... ..... and again the same picture on an English black and white postcard.
It says on the front 'The show is on - come over!'

Modern Magic Lantern Postcard with a cat, printed in Paris in 1987. The card is titled 'CHAT A LA LANTERNE MAGIQUE' and measures 15 x 10.5 cm (app. 6 x 4 inches).

Bonne Année - Happy New Year. Circa 1910.

Two lovely French hand tinted photo postcards featuring a pair of children with a magic lantern. At the left bottom of the card is a trade mark and the serial number 2530/1 and 2530/3. Size: approx. 3 ½" x 5 ½" (9 x 14 cm).

According to the diamond shaped trade mark at the back of the lantern it must be made by the German manufacturer Bing (G.B.N). Though only a part of the film reel holder is visible, it's definitely a cinematograph and probably the model that can be found at Cinematographs, movies on the magic lantern.

postcard magic lantern Bonne Annee 1

Same couple in black and white. Bonne Année postcard from the same publisher PHR, numbered 2530/6. postcard magic lantern Bonne Annee 3
Another hand tinted photograph postcard, made by the same publisher. Another series, another couple, another motive (Christmas bells), the same G.B.N. lantern.
 Serial number 2483/4. Size: approx. 3 ½ by 5 ½ inch (9 x 14 cm).


And this one has serial number 2530/2.

Dutch  souvenir postcard from the Dutch village Barneveld. The photo shows Castle 'de Schaffelaar'.

The estate was occupied by noble families until 1935. Later it served among other things for a  rehabilitation centre and a school.

Collection Martin Vliegenthart.

Two children using a special kind of projector to wish the people of 1912 a happy New Year.

Magic Lantern postcard, c. 1910 from Govan Scotland, published by Newman Bros.

At first sight this card has nothing to do with magic lanterns, however appearances are deceiving. When appropriate lit from behind the card shows the magic lantern beam and projection.

French text on the front 'Regarder par transparence' and 'La Leçon de Géographie', overprinted by Swedish 'Hall kortet mot lampan' and 'Arvid Carlson, Södertelge'.

Children's postcard. 'Im Kino' (At the cinema'), c. 1915. Text 'M.D. Nr 1201' on the back of the card. There is a French version too: 'Au cinéma'.

French children's postcard, 1929.

Children's postcard 'Made in U.S.A.', 1915?

More postcards..........
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Last update: 22-10-2023.
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