The Great Eastern steamship, magic lantern slide, 19th century. '
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Hand-coloured magic lantern slide of Brunel's ship the 'Great Eastern' off the south coast of England at Weymouth. Magic lantern shows began towards the end of the 17th century but only became widespread (and popular) in the 19th century with the improvement in lamp sources. The show ranged from simple didactic presentations to sophisticated shows using double or triple lanterns to produce moving and dissolving images on the screen. Light would travel through the slide fom the magic lantern apparatus, projecting the image.