Share your favorites on Show & Tell

Magic Lantern Walking Stick, 1880s

In Cameras > Camera Accessories > Show & Tell and Photographs > Magic Lantern > Show & Tell.
Vintage Camera Accessories3 of 31Uncommon Photographic Accessories, 1890sCollapsible Cyclists Cup - 1897
Love it
Like it

SEAN68SEAN68 loves this.
MrstyndallMrstyndall loves this.
DesignerDesigner loves this.
AntigueToysAntigueToys loves this.
Beachbum58Beachbum58 loves this.
ho2cultchaho2cultcha loves this.
yougottahavestuffyougottahavestuff loves this.
HunterHunter loves this.
AnythingObscureAnythingObscure loves this.
f64imagerf64imager loves this.
chrissylovescatschrissylovescats loves this.
farmladyfarmlady loves this.
shughsshughs loves this.
officialfuelofficialfuel loves this.
BrunswickBrunswick loves this.
vetraio50vetraio50 loves this.
kwqdkwqd loves this.
RadegunderRadegunder loves this.
auraaura loves this.
ManikinManikin loves this.
BenBen loves this.
Daddy_NobucksDaddy_Nobucks loves this.
JohnKratzJohnKratz loves this.
fortapachefortapache loves this.
MALKEYMALKEY loves this.
blunderbuss2blunderbuss2 loves this.
hunterqleehunterqlee loves this.
SpiritBearSpiritBear loves this.
pw-collectorpw-collector loves this.
bobby725bobby725 loves this.
See 28 more
Add to collection

    Please create an account, or Log in here

    If you don't have an account, create one here.

    Create a Show & TellReport as inappropriate

    Posted 8 months ago

    (307 items)

    This exceedingly rare Magic Lantern (gadget) walking stick caught me by surprise. As a collector of early photographic apparatus and accessories, I thought I had pretty much seen everything over the years; innovative cameras, tripods, exotic lenses and shutters, image plates, powder flash, etc. ... you get the idea. And then this comes along when visiting an antique dealer at a show. The dealer, who also specializes in canes, admits this is the only example seen to date.

    While magic lanterns predate photography by several hundred years, they eventually became an important part of photographic history. They are most often thought of as entertainment in the form of tabletop lanterns that project images made on glass slides.

    This 34 inch walking stick (cane) has a brass handle that ingeniously transforms into a magic lantern projector. The disguised projector, as the handle, has lenses in the tapered cone, a wick (serving as the torch), a parabolic mirror to reflect the burner light, and a retractable chimney. Tripod legs and hand painted glass lantern-slides are stored below the handle inside the top portion of the cane's shaft. There is also a metal frame to hold the glass slides.

    Probably considered only as a novelty, this magic lantern walking stick is a delightful addition as an accessory to my early camera collection.

    Update: The projector works. I thought it was more of a novelty item and it probably is, but it does project an image. I tested by removing the cone portion of the handle (which has the optics) then positioned and illuminated a film transparency in a darkened room. (I didn't want to take the chance of damaging the original glass slides.) The transparency image resolved easily (but somewhat fuzzy due to the primitive optics) from about 3 feet and got larger (and dimmer) as I moved back. The projected image actually got pretty big at around 10 feet. Yet given that a small flame is the illuminant, as opposed to a bright flashlight, the viewing distance would probably be closer to 3 feet or so for a bright projection.

    To answer a good question if something was needed to protect the delicate glass slides from the heat of a flame, I assume they would need some type of insulation to prevent damage. Maybe there was protective glass (or similar material) to shield the slides. If so, it is lost.

    And …
    ... gently sliding the cone forward exposes a carriage to hold the lantern slides.
    … there are no scorch marks inside the lantern so it was probably never used.


    1. bobby725 bobby725, 8 months ago
      WOW! Now, that is cool! Always learning on this site!!
    2. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 8 months ago
      This has to be rare. Luv it ! I'll give you that hectare of land, 6 goats & 3 copper bracelets for it. I'll even throw in that 3 legged water buffalo !
    3. bobby725 bobby725, 8 months ago
      LOL! bb2, I assume you didn`t get the electric finger? ;-)
    4. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 8 months ago
      Naw ! Besides the finger, I've tried to buy 7 girlfriends, 1 wife and a used motorbike with these fine assets. Think the water buffalo cleared the last butterfly mine and the poppies are doing great after the bombs aerated the soil. Want to make a deal ?
    5. Daddy_Nobucks Daddy_Nobucks, 8 months ago
      Sweet piece!
    6. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 8 months ago
      The lens cone slides out to expose a slot to insert the pix strip ? Is there glass to protect the pix strip from the heat of the flame ?
    7. Manikin Manikin, 8 months ago
      Very cool wow !
    8. SEAN68 SEAN68, 8 months ago
      this is awesome...……………...
    9. Vynil33rpm Vynil33rpm, 8 months ago
      Great Goo-Glee ,Moo -Glee
    10. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 8 months ago
      Bobby, I get the finger on a regular basis, but not the elec. one.
    11. bobby725 bobby725, 8 months ago
      Bb2, somehow I find that hard to believe! (a softspoken gentle guy like you!) ;-)
    12. vetraio50 vetraio50, 8 months ago
      TOP !!!
    13. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 8 months ago
      I agree Vetraio50. For a collector in this field, this has to be the Holy Grail. Bobby, I'm glad to know that at least 1 person recognizes my finer attributes. Now, to convince others. LOL !!
    14. rniederman rniederman, 8 months ago
    15. rniederman rniederman, 8 months ago
      Thanks, BB2! Appreciate your comments and humor.
    16. rniederman rniederman, 8 months ago
    17. rniederman rniederman, 8 months ago
    18. rniederman rniederman, 8 months ago
    19. rniederman rniederman, 8 months ago
    20. rniederman rniederman, 8 months ago
      AnythingObscure loves this.
    21. rniederman rniederman, 8 months ago
    22. rniederman rniederman, 8 months ago
    23. rniederman rniederman, 6 months ago
      Thanks, Sean!

    Want to post a comment?

    Create an account or login in order to post a comment.