Magic Lantern Castle Museum


The Magic Lantern is the earliest form of slide projector. The first published image of the device appeared in Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae, by Athanasius Kircher in the late 1600's. Images were painted on glass and projected on walls, cloth drapes, and, sometimes, on a wet cloth from behind the "screen".

Naturally, to see images appear, either from a lantern, that heretofore was a light source only, or onto a screen, was "magical" in those early days.

With the advent of photography in the mid-1800's, it became possible to produce black-and-white images on glass in greater numbers. Still, they had, for the most part, to be hand-tinted or painted until reliable color photographic processes became available much later. Some slides were made by applying decals or transfers to the glass.

Until movies came along, in the mid-to-late 1890's, the magic lantern was the sole projection device available.

Though glass slides would indicate a still image, many innovations in magic lantern design and construction, as well as slide design (moving layers of glass images), allowed dissolving images, movement, and special effects.

Thus, the magic lantern became "the Father of motion pictures, and the Grandfather of television."

Copyright © 1994 Jack Judson
All rights reserved.

Magic Lantern Castle Museum

For additional information about the Castle or Magic Lanterns, Press HERE. .


We welcome any and all inquiries regarding Magic Lanterns, including identifying them as to makers, dates, origins, and restoration. All information is free, but all copying and/or mailing will be charged at cost to the requestor.
This is a public service site.
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Magic Lantern Castle Museum
San Antonio, Texas

For Post Mail:
Magic Lantern Castle Museum
1419 Austin Highway
San Antonio, TX 78209
NOTE: Tours & visits by appointment ONLY.
By Phone: (210) 805-0011
By FAX: (210) 822-1226

A proud member of the Texas Association of Museums .
The American Association of Museums



Magic Lantern Society of The United States and Canada

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since February 7, 1998.