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Projector - Perken, Son & Rayment, Magic Lantern, 'Optimus', 1887-1900 Object Reg. No: HT 26834

Projector was used to view lantern slides. The Optimus trade name was initially registered in 1885 by the company Lejeune & Perken and was continued when the company name changed to Perken, Son & Rayment in 1887. The Optimus name was used to sell a vast range of photographic material, as well as lanterns such as this.

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.
Japanned metal body with intricate die-cut repeat pattern along the sides. The illuminant chamber has an inner metal lining. The metal roof is curved, with a rectangular aperture for a cowl/chimney. The front of the body is curved. There is a brass flange with a circular hole along the front bottom for fixing the lantern to a base. Brass projection tubes with rack and pinion focus controls and brass swivel front cover for the lens. Each side has a circular red glass viewing window into the illumination chamber which is bordered in brass. At the back there is a 3/4 flip door into the illumination chamber. The condenser remains insitu. Electrical slide-out illuminant on metal plate; comprising socket, glass globe, cord and plug. The lower right hand screw of the back plate is missing. The lower left hand screw is missing off the plate holding the focus controls in place. The lantern is housed in a rectangular wooden box. The box opens via a lid at top. There is a metal carry handle of the lid. The lid is secured by two hook slides which pivot into metal loops.
Acquisition Information:
Loan & Subsequent Donation from Australian Film Institute (AFI)
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 200 mm (Height), 140 mm (Width), 440 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: magic lanterns
Inscriptions: On circular paper sticker on right side of box: '454'
On circular paper sticker on lens tube: '77'
On rectangular paper sticker on front left of body (facing front of lantern): ' '77'
Pressed onto back door within oval frame: 'PERKEN SON & RAYMENT/'OPTIMUS'/LONDON.'
Etched on front of body above projection tubes: ''OPTIMUS''
On brass plaque on lower front of body: 'PERKEN, SON & RAYMENT/'OPTIMUS'/LONDON.'
Stamped on glass globe: '.../LUXRAM/200v 210 v/MADE IN ENGLAND'
On electrical cord plug: 'MADE IN ENGLAND/BS 52'
Collector: Mr David Francis, London, Middlesex, England, Great Britain, 1990
Manufacturer: Perken, Son & Rayment, London, England, Great Britain, 1887-1900
References: Perken, Son & Rayment, Company Names at 'Early Photography' Accessed 26 Nov. 2010
  1. [Book], Stephen Herbert, Richard Crangle, David Robinson, Encyclopaedia of the Magic Lantern, The Magic Lantern Society, 2001, 168; 215 Pages

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