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47 Two Astronomical Magic Lantern Slides

image of Two Astronomical Magic Lantern Slides

image of Two Astronomical Magic Lantern Slides

These slides were made for a popular lecture by C. Knoch entitled ‘A Day on the Moon’ and were manufactured in the workshops of the Optical Institute of A. Krüss in Hamburg in the 1890s. The central image of the large rack-work slide shows the mountain ranges of the moon, set in an intense black sky. The slide demonstrates the astronomical events as they unfold during a moon day, which is equivalent to 28 earth days. The continually changing light phenomena are much more intense as there is no atmosphere on the moon. The earth appears as a large black disc surrounded by zodiacal light, which also casts a rosy glow on the moonscape. The second slide shows that as the sun rises in the moon’s sky, the sickle of the earth continually decreases while the rotation of the earth is observed by the rotation of the continental masses.

Andreas Krüss married the daughter of the instrument maker Esmund Gabory who, after apprenticeship with Jesse Ramsden in London, had opened his workshop there in 1780, before returning to Hamburg to set up business in 1796. After Gabory’s death, Krüss took over the firm, which, following the great Hamburg fire, was re-established in 1844 as A. Krüss, the distinguished instrument company which today is noted for its optical measuring instruments. In the early 1860s, Andreas’s son, Edmund, began to manufacture lantern slides, and by the early 20th century the firm’s catalogue listed around 8,000 lantern slides, of which the two shown here are among the most complex.

I am exhibiting these two slides as I am particularly interested in mechanical scientific slides, and these two are a good example of the imaginative use of this medium in the teaching of popular science.

Collection: Willem Hackmann, Oxfordshire

See: Nineteenth-Century Scientific Instruments and their Makers, Papers Presented at the Fourth Scientific Instrument Symposium, Amsterdam 23-26 October 1984, P.R. de Clercq, 1985, pp.134, 143

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