Projector was used to view lantern slides. The Optimus trade name was initially registered in 1885 by the company Lejeune & Perken and was continued when the company name changed to Perken, Son & Rayment in 1887. The Optimus name was used to sell a vast range of photographic material, as well as lanterns such as this.

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

Japanned metal body with intricate die-cut repeat pattern along the sides. The illuminant chamber has an inner metal lining. The metal roof is curved, with a rectangular aperture for a cowl/chimney. The front of the body is curved. There is a brass flange with a circular hole along the front bottom for fixing the lantern to a base. Brass projection tubes with rack and pinion focus controls and brass swivel front cover for the lens. Each side has a circular red glass viewing window into the illumination chamber which is bordered in brass. At the back there is a 3/4 flip door into the illumination chamber. The condenser remains insitu. Electrical slide-out illuminant on metal plate; comprising socket, glass globe, cord and plug. The lower right hand screw of the back plate is missing. The lower left hand screw is missing off the plate holding the focus controls in place. The lantern is housed in a rectangular wooden box. The box opens via a lid at top. There is a metal carry handle of the lid. The lid is secured by two hook slides which pivot into metal loops.

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