Lantern Slides revived: The College at Brockport

Main Page Content

Lantern Slides revived

Some antique images get a new lease on life.

Many are familiar with the 35mm slides that were so common not very long ago, but few realize that there was another slide format before them. The earlier format was that of the lantern slides, 4"x3.25" glass slides that were projected through the "magic lantern" projectors of the time. There were companies that mass produced these slides, and sold them to institutions like the NY State Education Department, which then distributed sets of the slides to the various schools in the state.

There were slides of famous paintings, various countries and their life, different animals and so on.

Brockport Normal School had a large collection of these slides, and several projectors. Long after their active use ended in the 1950s when 35mm slides took over, the lantern slides were still here. Rich Hart, now retired, was an AV tech who rescued these slides and equipment from being discarded, and they eventually came to the archives.

Lately as a little side project the archivist has been scanning some of the bird images and uploading them to Flickr. (At some point a more extensive site will be set up on the College's Digital Commons.) The images are stunning, and were taken by prominent NY birders and ornithologists of the day, like Arthur Allen of Cornell, and Guy Bailey of Geneseo Normal. Not only were the original black and white photos quite well done, the ones that are hand colored are remarkable for their quality.



Charlie Cowling,


Close mobile navigation