Triunial magic lantern with three lenses, 1890.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This triunial magic lantern was used by C Goodwin Norton, a well-known lantern entertainer of the 1890s. With three separate lenses it was posible to create many special effects which added drama to the presentation. Magic lantern shows began towards the end of the 17th century but only became more widespread in the 19th century with the improvement in lamp sources. The shows could range from simple didactic presentations (a favourite topic was the demon drink) to sophisticated shows using double or triple lanterns to produce moving and disolving images on the screen.