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Magic Lantern Glass Slides
Magic lantern glass slides were invented in the 17th century as an image projector using photos on sheets of glass. Developed by Moses Holden in 1814, he used it before the invention of photography to illustrate his astronomical lectures. Improvements in photographic reproduction methods and projection illuminants in the years to come increased the magic lantern's popularity.
The majority of lantern slides used black and white positive images. Before the invention of color photography, these images would sometimes be hand colored using transparent oil paints, aniline dyes, or watercolors, then baked in an oven to set the layers.
Magic lantern slides brought about a new way for people to view both commercial and amateur photography. Through the first third of the 20th century, these slides were a popular form of entertainment, which allowed people to show off their photographs to a sizable audience. As film became more popular in the mid-20th century, magic lantern's popularity declined. Though these slides are rarely if ever used today, they are popular at auction, especially when the slides depict important points in history.
In the late 19th century, magic lantern shows were popular, combining projected images, live narration, and music for audiences
29 glass magic lantern slides depicting the Czar of France sold at Christie's London for $4,040 in June of 2009
A collection of private glass magic lantern slides depicting the Titanic just prior to its embarkation sold at Christie's London for $4,483 in May of 2006