Mahogany and brass projector used to view lantern slides. It is illuminated using a limelight burner and features an unusual leather bellows lens extender. The chimney is missing.

Archer & Sons were a lantern manufacturing firm based in Liverpool. They were operational from 1848 and in the 1880s and 1890s were one of the largest manufacturers of lanterns in northern England.

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

Rectangular body mahogany magic lantern with brass detailing. Brass lens tube with brass swivel cover. Concertina black leather bellows lens extender contained within wooden housing. Brass knob on right side of lantern front body for extending same. Centre front of base plate flat brass flange with cutout slot for fixing lantern to flat surface. Each lower lateral side has long rectangular top-hinged flaps into illumination chamber. Each later side has square hinged side-opening door into illumination chamber. Each has blue glass circular viewing hole with swivel brass cover. Condenser insitu. Japanned metal top cover with large oval aperture for chimney/cowl. Latched side-swinging 3/4 door at back of illumination chamber. Illumination chamber floor has rectangular metal mesh above illumination. Slide out limelight illumination unit.

More Information