Black enamelled metal magic lantern body which would have been used to view lantern slides.

The company which manufactured this particular lantern was operational under the name W.E. & F. Newton between 1852-57, and as Newton & Co. from 1858. By the 1880s it had become one of Britain's most important manufacturers of magic lanterns and slides. They continued in business into the 1940s. Circa 1913 the company moved from their longstanding address in Fleet Street, London to establishments in King and Wigmore Streets.

While the invention of the magic lantern is generally seen to be in the 17th century, its greatest popularity as an optical projector spans the late 18th century to the early decades of the 20th century. It was used both as a means of entertainment and education.

This lantern projector is part of the Francis Collection of pre-cinematic apparatus and ephemera, acquired by the Australian and Victorian Governments in 1975. David Francis was the curator of the National Film and Sound Archive of the British Film Institute as well as being a co-founder of the Museum of the Moving Image in London, which was operational between 1988 and 1999.

Physical Description

Black enamelled rectangular metal body. Missing all inner components. Four ball feet at each corner. Hinged side door with swivel latch. Brass name plate on side door. Drawn wire handles top front of each lateral side. Large circular aperture in roof for chimney. Missing back door of illumination chamber.

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