Magic lantern slides brought the world to life in pictures. The first lantern slides were created in the 1600s, around 200 years before photography was invented and they provided spectacular entertainment and education in the way that cinema does today. The first slides were made by painting images on to small pieces of glass and people viewed the slides by shinning candlelight or gaslight through them.

The Victoria and Albert Museum chronicles the history of magic lantern slides while sharing their collection in the video above. Learn more about the medium at MagicLanternSociety.org and at the V&A: From the Royal Albert Hall to the Victorian Home: The Many Uses of the Magic Lantern.

magic lantern slides bear
magic lantern slides
Plus, see a bit more of the magic in this 2016 Laterna Magica Galantee promo video from The Academy of Film and the Arts (AFA) in Belgium:

Related videos include how the V&A recreated an 18th-century Mechanical Theatre, L’homme à la tête de caoutchouc (1901) – Georges Méliès, and the roller skating scene from Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times.

Bonus: Walt Disney explains his studio’s multiplane camera technology.

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