Collectors Weekly Hall of Fame Saluting Great Collections
The Richard Balzer Collection

The Richard Balzer Collection

The magic lantern section of The Richard Balzer Collection covers the machines, images, and cultural artifacts related to these 17th-century precursors to slide projectors. In addition to stereopticons, pamphengos, and biunial and triunial lanterns, Balzer has collected everything from hand fans and figurines to thimbles and tiles, as long as they depict magic lanterns or the people who traveled from town to town with the devices on their back in pursuit of their next paying audience on them. The pages devoted to magic lantern slides are particularly good, offering images of phantasmagoria (dancing skeletons, anyone?) and a Flash gallery showing, for example, a lighthouse whose surrounding scenery transitions from day to night.

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