HSP is pleased to announce that its glass lantern slide index is now available online. The index consists of descriptions and locations of more than 2,000 glass slides from over two dozen collections.
First invented in the 17th century, magic lantern shows consisted of a series of small glass slides with transparent images that were placed in a projector. The projector had a light source (at first candles, later electric lights) and a lens that allowed large, clear images to be viewed by an audience. Originally used primarily for storytelling, magic lantern shows later developed educational themes. They remained popular until the mid-20th century, when they were replaced by slide shows. The small glass plates preserve not only painted images, but also photographs of a variety of subjects.
HSP’s collection includes images ranging from local landscapes, residences, and landmarks, to portraits and prints. The index is now available at database.hsp.org/.