Lantern slide projector

Lantern slide projector Lantern slide projector PROP03000

This lantern slide projector, a forerunner of today’s slide projector, was a latter-day version of the “magic lantern”, first developed in the 1650s. The 19th century was the heyday for the magic lantern show, but the invention of the Cinématographe in 1895 by the Lumière brothers (who also later invented the autochrome) led to its demise and the birth of the motion picture era. However, in the early 20th century, illustrated talks accompanied by lantern slides continued to be very popular. Colour images from Paget plates and autochromes were frequently presented as lantern slides; for many, this was the only way they would ever see a colour photograph.

The Memorial has a large collection of lantern slides, including many Paget slides, made from official photographs taken during the First World War. Following the war, these were lent for illustrated talks, frequently presented during “smoke nights”, a regular feature of ex-service reunions and unit association meetings in the 1920s.