Magic Lantern Projector

About this object

Magic lantern projector originally owned by brothers and itinerant showmen Herman Foston and the Reverend Charles Foston. During the early 20th century Herman toured the country presenting lectures and showing historical and topographical images of New Zealand subjects. Charles Foston was involved in the temperance movement and gave illuminated presentations on this topic. Lectures titles include ‘Life in the land of Pelorus Jack’, ‘The romance of the Moa, coal, greenstone and gold. Aotea roa [sic]’ and ‘Light on the liquor question. What the world’s leaders have to say about it’. The Foston brothers’ glass slides and lecture notes, and a second lantern projector, are also held in the collection. The projector featured here is designed for use with an electric lamp.
Magic lantern projectors were used for centuries in various cultures to show hand painted glass slides, mainly as a form of entertainment. From the late nineteenth century, photographic glass slides were produced and use of the lantern projector became more oriented toward education, as the device offered the opportunity for illustrated lectures on real world phenomena. The Foston brothers’ traveling shows typify this later usage of the technology.

Date Made


Medium and Materials

Varnished wood, metal, paint, glass


33 x 45 x 54cm (HWD)


Foston Collection

Credit Line

Foston Collection

Object Type


Object number


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All rights reserved

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