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Projector - Walter Tyler, Magic Lantern, Helioscopic, circa 1887-1910 Object Reg. No: HT 26826

Incomplete metal projector used to view lantern slides. The Helioscopic was the best known lantern produced by the English lantern and slide manufacturer and retailer, Walter Clement Tyler. It went through various models. Tyler, who began as a lantern exhibitor, opened a shop in 115 Waterloo Road, London in 1885. This particular lantern dates after a move to 48 Waterloo Road in 1887. The business, Walter Tyler Ltd., became one of Britain's largest retailers of lanterns, slides and accessories. Walter Tyler died in 1909 but the company continued its operation.

While the invention of the magic lantern is generally seen to be in the 17th century, its greatest popularity as an optical projector spans the late 18th century to the early decades of the 20th century. It was used both as a means of entertainment and education.

This lantern projector is part of the Francis Collection of pre-cinematic apparatus and ephemera, acquired by the Australian and Victorian Governments in 1975. David Francis was the curator of the National Film and Sound Archive of the British Film Institute as well as being a co-founder of the Museum of the Moving Image in London, which was operational between 1988 and 1999.
Rectangular japanned metal body. Brass condenser lens housing and brass outer tube. Brass hinged flange at front along base. Has slot for allowing lantern to be fixed onto surface.Ornate ventilation holes run along the bottom of both lateral sides. Rectangular aperture in top of lantern. X6 small circular ventilation holes along either side of this rectangular aperture. Side doors each lateral side of lantern body. Each has circular blue glass viewing ports with brass swivel covers. Latched 3/4 door at back. Square brass name plate fixed on back door with a single screw in each corner.
Acquisition Information:
Loan & Subsequent Donation from Australian Film Institute (AFI)
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 230 mm (Height), 145 mm (Width), 395 mm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: projectors, magic lanterns, pre-cinema moving images, lantern projectors
Themes this item is part of: Francis Collection, Images & Image Making Collection, Leisure Collection
Primary Classification: COMMUNICATIONS
Secondary Classification: Audio-Visual Systems
Tertiary Classification: image production equipment
Inscriptions: Square brass plaque on back door: 'Walter Tyler's/NEW PATTERN/"HELIOSCOPIC LANTERN" (REGD)/PATENT NO 2459/48 WATERLOO ROAD S E'
Circular paper sticker on outer tube: '69'
Circular paper sticker on front of lantern body (top): '30'
Circular paper sticker on front of lantern body (bottom): '468'
Circular paper sticker on right lateral side (bottom front): '69'
Collector: Mr David Francis, London, Middlesex, England, Great Britain, 1990
Manufacturer: Mr Walter Tyler, London, England, Great Britain, circa 1887-1910
References: Brown, E. (ed), 'Walter Tyler Obituary' in British Journal of Photography Almanac Annual Summary of Photographic Inventions and Events in Photographic History/1910 Accessed 29 Oct 2010 at
  1. [Book], Stephen Herbert, Richard Crangle, David Robinson, Encyclopaedia of the Magic Lantern, The Magic Lantern Society, 2001, 2001, 312 Pages

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