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Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Connecting Collections - Magic Lantern Slides Part II

Old photographs can often be dated by advertising or incidental details, a good example of this being the photograph of A.Goodman’s Confectioners shop. This shows a large advertisement for Fry’s Chocolate. (Frys Chocolate Cream bars being first sold around 1866). Several were taken in Cornwall, two showing groups of people who were presumably also on holiday. In one example, they are shown enjoying a picnic luncheon, complete with large straw picnic hampers, in true Victorian style, complete (including / along with?) with flagon.

A. Goodman's Shop
Photographs taken often also document a changing world, and this is illustrated by two slides in particular. One is that of boys listening to a phonograph, invented in 1877 by Thomas Edison. This was the first device to reproduce recorded sound, clearly quite a technical innovation. The boys gathered round are listening to the phonograph playing waxed cylinders. The cylinders had grooves etched into them, into which a metal stylus fitted, as with a record player. That the world is about to change is particularly well illustrated in another slide entitled, “War of Nations” Recruits Trench Digging.” This, together with the Castle Combe photograph, are particularly relevant at present, with the release of the Steven Spielberg film, “War Horse”, as scenes for the film were filmed there.

Boys Listening to Phonograph



Recruits Trench Digging WWI
Another example of a changing world, is the slide of the post boy who may well be delivering telegrams as well as post. We live in an age of rapid communication and tend to think of this as a modern innovation our Victorian ancestors would have been amazed by. For them, however, the development of the telephone and the telegraph system must have been just as interesting. Our ancestors were just as keen on developing technology as we are today. Indeed, the slides themselves are indicative of a changing world, if we remember by the 1880’s, cameras were becoming more widely available and more portable. Being easier to carry meant it was easier to take them to other parts of the world, as illustrated in these slides.

Post Boy

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