A magic Lantern is a device that was used to project translucent images on a screen. It can be considered as the precursor of today’s slide projector.
The first mentions of an image projecting device seem to date back to the fifteenth century, but it didn’t develop into the full-featured magic lantern (equipped in particular with a projection lens for the sharpness of the projected image) until the seventeenth century. Its use spread quickly during the eighteenth century with showmen traveling around like peddlers, and with the advent of new horror shows known as phantasmagorias.
The mass-production of magic Lanterns began in the nineteenth century, allowing them to become a very popular family entertainment. They remained so until the beginning of the twentieth century when they were outmoded by motion pictures.
The caption reads in the original French: