The Magic Lantern Society

New Light on Old Media

Welcome to Issue 25 of New Light on Old Media

Le Musée national de l'éducation in Rouen is currently staging a major exhibition covering the history of projection and its use as an aid to education and science. There are many examples of the lantern's development and prominence as well as the later use of filmstrips in the 1950s. Lumineuses Projections! runs right through until 31 January 2017. There are many great images to be found here on Flikr with a detailed and fully illustrated and downloadable press dossier on the MUNAÉ  website here.


Mervyn Heard : Editor

Promenade Performances

Showman Tony Liddington runs Devon based Promenade Promotions specialising in the recreation of old time fairground and seaside entertainments such as flea circuses and Pierrot shows. On 2 June they launched their inaugural peep show performance entitled "Lucky Dicky Crangle and the Cinnabar Moth" inspired by the magic lantern slide collection held by the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter.  You can take a look at their wacky wonders and track down their further appearances here on their web site.

Lotte Reiniger at 117

On June 2 Google celebrated the work of silhouette artist Lotte Reiniger on the occasion of what would have been her 117th birthday.  This link transports you to a special Guardian newspaper page which includes biographical notes, excerpts from some of her remarkable films and the special Google tribute. 


Endless Journey


The Myriorama : A Collection of Many Changing Landscapes was a children's philosophical toy popularised by John Clark in the early 1820s. It consisted of a series of 16 cards which could be arranged in any order to produce an ever-changing panoramic vista. A similar idea was the panoramacopia from 1824, designed by T T Child. There are several cheap facsimiles of the originals available today, but also a few recent examples. The part set shown below, consisting of 12 cards, was recently designed by Guardian cartoonist Tom Gauld for the Laurence Sterne Trust. You can buy a set directly from them for just £10. Here's the link to the shop. Tom Gauld's website is here.


You might also like to take a look at the paintings of the Australian artist Tony Clark (no relation to John) who adopts the same notion, creating similar 'endless journeys'. There is an article on his work here.

More About the

Magic Lantern Society


If you have an interest in research or performance involving the magic lantern or other forms of vintage visual media  you might want to consider joining The Magic Lantern Society. We publish a regular quarterly printed journal and meet on a regular basis in the UK and other parts of Europe.
For further information and back issues of this e-letter go to  

You will find our sister organisation The Magic Lantern Society of the US and Canada here:

Hooray for Caliwood

The Museo de la Cinematografia has just opened in the city of Cali, Colombia. The attraction, christened Caliwood, is the first of its kind in the country devoted to the history of local cinema exhibition. Essentially it provides a home for the collection of lawyer and amateur mechanic Hugo Suarez featuring many of the imposing film projectors he has rescued from now defunct cinemas in Latin America.  Alongside these giant machines (the woman in the picture below looks slightly terrified) you will find various examples of magic lantern projectors employed in the same film theatres in the early part of the last century.You can access the main site here and a special page with some great pictures, given over to lantern hardware here. The site is in Spanish but there's always good old Google Translate Background information in English on the launch of the collection can be found here on this BBC site.


Colourful impressions 

Andrés Pachón is a Spanish born artist currently based in Porto, Portugal. His most recent exhibition Linterna mágica staged at the Rodriguez Gallery, Poznań, Poland from mid May to mid June consisted of a series of magic lantern slide images of Middle Eastern landscapes blown up and exhibited as wall art. However the original images were displayed without the original underlying photographic image - that is to say merely showing the watercolour brush strokes hand-applied to the original slides.  More on the concept with some other examples can be found here on the Rodriguez Gallery site.
To discover more about the artist you can find his dedicated site here.

Floaty Pens

Summer is the season of the amazing 'floaty pen' : a technical term. This is the kind of souvenir which can be picked up in many gift shops in almost any part of the world. Typically they feature a wide-screen scene with some moving element such as a car, a group of people or, as above, a gondola drifting along the Grand Canal in Venice. They are all activated by simply tipping the pen. It occurred to me that they might be viewed as a type of optical toy related to the 19th century moving panorama.  The Danish based Eskesen company are usually credited with introducing the concept in the 1950s and their pens, which are still produced, are the most prized by collectors. You can learn more about the company's history on the Eskesen site.  There are various extensive collections on the web. One of the largest being that of  Russell and Susan Eisen. You can see all their pens here. In addition to souvenirs of travel there are company promotional pens, striptease versions and even some religious subject matter.  Here are a few specially chosen examples:

- A pen which enables the viewer to bring the RMS Titanic ever closer to its doom 


- A very strange 'Souvenir from Eastbourne' which has a skeleton crawling through a graveyard.

- And my favourite...


New Light on Old Media Issue 25, July 2016
Copyright © 2016 The Magic Lantern Society, All rights reserved.

The reason you have been sent this e-mail is you are a member of the Magic Lantern Society or have subscribed to this list from the Magic Lantern Society Web Site

Our mailing address is:

If you no longer wish to receive this e-letter click on the unsubscribe link below

unsubscribe from this list | update subscription preferences