Collecting Pre-cinema Ephemera
Magic Lantern show
with Peepshow projection
Collecting Pre-Cinema Ephemera
is important, collecting ephemera is
perhaps even more important. The ephemera
items are able to unveil the secrets
and stories behind our precious items.
wonderful lithograph on the right depict
Magic Lantern show.
is very interesting to see all the family
members in the darkened room where this
optical event takes place.
The projected image on the sreen shows
a Harlequin demonstrating his
the Dutch word for
Images like this unveil part of the
secret on how the apparatus we collect
where used. The double theme, magic
lantern and peepshow, makes this a most
collectable ephemera in the pre-cinema
in the lithograph, caused by the open
side door of the lantern is what makes
the image more dramatic. It also create
Presumably, a monkey is seen on top
of the rarekiek.
Click on the Magic
Lantern show image to see the origin
of the Peepshow
= rarekiek =
Magic Lantern projection of Chromatrope
publicity postcard by ERA. This, presumable
Belgian, postcard shows three children playing
with a toy magic lantern to project a chromatrope.
Between front and back of the postcard there is a
revolving disc to imitate a chromatrope at work.
Suchlike trading cards illustrate
the popularity of the Magic Lantern
at the end of the 19th.
Century. Mouve mouse over to see back
of card. The
was manufacturing margarine.
Other themes in the same series are
a Valentine scene, a cupido with a
burning heart, an airplane. All three
card have a similar revolving discs,
in case of the latter, the disc became
on the postcard to see toy Magic Lanterns
Lantern in Simon Witgeest's conjuring
nieuw vermeerdert natuurlyk
tooverboek ofte speel-toneel
(tenth edition 1781)
This popular conjuring book
was written by
first edition of this book is
1679, the last circa 1830.
Witgeest illustrate a curious
looking Magic Lantern, together
with a long slide showing circular
images. The text describes how
the lantern was used.
This original 17th.
Century conjuring book was very
popular. At least 17 different
editions in Dutch are known
and 15 German editions between
1702 and 1798.
The book also describes the
basics of the Camera Obscura.
Although many editions where
printed in subsequent centuries,
an original copy is difficult
to find. (Right
The book still remains popular
since at least two 20th.
Century Dutch photographic reprints
A reprint of the first 1679
edition was done by Sijthoff-Leiden,
A reprint of the 11th.
edition was done by Ripova (no
Obviously, references to optical
devices or often found in vintage
For example, the technique of
smoke projection used for Phantasmagoria
Chambers Encyclopaedia 1778
In the history of the Encyclopaedia, the
is of huge historical importance. this was
the basic inspirational source for
Diderot & d'Alembert's
Because the latter where dissatisfied
about the Chambers
they started their own major cyclopedic
The Chambers' Cyclopædia is also the first
to use cross-references.
The history of Encyclopaedia's is
interesting in it's own right but the
frontespice of the 1787 Chambers' edition
is shown here because of the magic lantern
seen at the bottom of the engraving.
"The Academy of Arts and sciences" by
Sébastien Leclerc seems to be the
inspirational source for the Chambers'
A good article, "Sébastien Leclerc
and the British Encyclopaedists" can be
found in the RETE mailing list.
Left and above: Magic Lantern in Chambers'