Lanterns in Society

Toy Lantern and Lantern Slide (Little Red Riding Hood)

Toy Lantern and Lantern Slide. (Little Red Riding Hood), ca. 1900, unidentified maker, United States, Gift of the Estate of Gerard Dallas Jencks. Photograph by David Bohl.

The lantern’s diverse range and usage made it ubiquitous in churches, fraternal organizations and public institutions in the Victorian era. Lanterns became more lightweight and employed standardized slide sizes. Soon smaller toy lanterns were mass produced, continuing to increase their presence in schools, homes, and public lectures. The lantern and slide's popularity peaked in the 1900s. The advent of cinema and the invention of smaller transparencies and the Kodachrome three-color process, led to a decline in the popularity of magic lanterns.