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Mirroscope - Magic Lantern Projector, Buckeye Stereopticon Co., 1910 Object Reg. No: HT 3934

Mirroscope, alternative names opaque projector, episcope or magic lantern.

The mirroscope was made by the Buckeye Stereopticon Co., Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Four models were offered by Gamages Ltd (London) in 1913, at prices from 15 - 42 shillings. This example is an improved model, with the addition of the two heat stacks directly above the light bulbs, designed to allow the heat to escape while preventing light from entering.

Items to be projected are illuminated by two light sources (burners). The light from the item is then focussed by an adjustable lens and projected on a screen or wall. Usually this object would be a postcard, photo, or other printed matter, but objects such as coins or leaves could also be projected. Heat from the light sources is removed using the two chimneys, located directly above the light sources, thus preventing any extra light entering.

Other Mirroscopes had a standard two-prong plug, but the cord on this one terminates in a screw base which fits into a light bulb socket.
This particular Mirroscope still has two old teardrop-shaped bulbs inside - the kind with the little point at the top and they both work (at date of writing).

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.
A six-faced object with a lens attached to the front panel. There are two cowls on the top to release heat produced by light source inside object. Rear panel is hinged at the bottom and opens to reveal a dual burner and mirrored reflector plates. Supported underneath by four feet.
Acquisition Information:
Loan & Subsequent Donation from Australian Film Institute (AFI)
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 432 mm (Height), 322 mm (Width), 322 mm (Length)
Dimension Comment: With chimneys.

More information

Tagged with: projectors
Themes this item is part of: Images & Image Making Collection, Francis Collection, Leisure Collection
Primary Classification: PHOTOGRAPHY
Secondary Classification: Image Viewing Equipment
Tertiary Classification: projectors
Inscriptions: Front:

Manufacturer: Buckeye Stereopticon Co, Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America, 1910
Retailer: A.W. Gamage, Holborn, London, England, Great Britain, 1910
Collector: Mr David Francis, London, Middlesex, England, Great Britain, 1990
References: http://www.cedu.niu.edu/blackwell/multimedia/high/thumbs/174.html - accessed 22 September 2008
  1. [Book], Stephen Herbert, Richard Crangle, David Robinson, Encyclopaedia of the Magic Lantern, The Magic Lantern Society, 2001, 2001, 195 Pages


stephen porth Posted on 06 Jun 2010 1:46 AM
i recently obtained one mirroscope trademark decal intact appears to have been converted to electric light operation...with the ceramic recepticals marked 250v treguning 3 amp is overall black with a maroon panel forward please offer a date thank you
Discovery Centre Posted on 07 Jun 2010 3:21 PM
Museum Victoria Comment
Hi Stephen. It's very hard for us to make an identification based on description alone with no information about the maker or serial number. We suggest that you contact an antiquarian expert or valuer in this type of object in your local area for them to assess the microscope in person.
Rudell Hegnes Posted on 08 Dec 2010 4:03 PM
I also have one that was my grandparent's and my mother remembers playing with it as a child. This one too looks like it must have been converted for electricity. Looks exactly the same except it says 1912 model .

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