This metal projector was used to view lantern slides. It was distributed by Maison de la Bonne Presse, a Paris publisher of Catholic journals and newspapers. In 1896 a 'visual education' department was created as part of the company, which, like its publishing department, was used to counter secularism in French society. The 'visual education' department distributed magic lanterns, cinema projectors and the associated visual images.

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

The projector is housed in a black metal box with a door at one end that opens from left to right and is secured with a metal hook latch near the base. There is a leather handle on top of the box. The projector inside consists of two main parts: the illuminant end and the projector end. The illuminant end has two hinged doors secured with clasps at the back to access the lamp housing. There are also two doors in each side with a circular window and sliding metal cover. There is a rectangular opening in the top of the illuminant housing for the scalloped chimney cover (detached and stored separately in the box). Inside the illuminant end is a slide out illuminant holder with a screw fitting attached. There is a lens glass between the illuminant housing and the front part of the projector. The front part of the projector has two brass cylinders with a gap between them where the slides are placed. There is a lens in a metal housing inside the front cylinder. A circular knob at the front moves the front part of the projector forwards and backwards. The manufacturer's name and address is engraved in the projector end housing.

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