Lantern Slide Projectors

Magic Lantern Projector

The Magic lantern was the projection tool used to display lantern slides. The magic lantern body was usually wooden on the outside, and metal on the inside with a smoke stack and various lenses to sharpen and project the image. Candles and kerosene were the original light sources used for magic lanterns until lime light became the popular source. However, lime light became very hot and often times caused fires. The introduction of the bright incandescent bulb allowed for a much safer light source. A small concave mirror in the back of the magic lantern body reflected light out of the front condensing lens and through the glass slide projecting the image and allowing the image to be seen six to twelve feet away.[1]

ARC Projector

The slide projector belonging to ARC may not be known as a Magic Lantern Projector but it is a Prado 500 slide projector manufactured by the German Company of Ernst Leitz Wetzlar in 1954. The projector stopped being made in 1968 as it was replaced by a later model called the Prado Universal.[2] ARC acquired the model in early 2017. The Prado 500 came from a local Ottawa store named Camera Trading Company. One of the owners of the store had the projector in their basement for about thirty-five years before bringing it into the store to be sold.[3]

Using the Prado 500 to view the slides in the Lantern Slide Collection could be damaging to the slides and is a risk due to their fragility. However, they could be projected with an adaptor to fit the size of the slides in the collection to the size of the projector’s frame.

Prado 500 slide projectorPrado 500: Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Company slide projector

[1] Worth, Tim W., “Cool Things in the Collection: Reverend Salton’s Magic Lantern,” Manitoba History no.83 (Spring 2017): 47.

[2] “Prado 250/500,”para 1, Leitz-Slide Projector Webmuseum,

[3] Marshall, Dominique. “Lantern Slide Projector Info.” Email, 2017.