What are Lantern Slides?

  • Lantern slides existed before computer display projectors and 35 mm slide projectors.
  • Called hyalotypes, lantern slides were invented by brothers Ernst Wilhelm and Friedrich in 1848 in Philadelphia, patented in 1850.
  • Lantern slides were prominent in medicine (X-rays), astronomy, physics.
  • Lantern slides could be painted with various colors to enhance them.

Lantern Slides from the 1920s-1930s, Engineering Instruction, Cornell University

lantern_slides_inside_box Lantern slide makers boxes


Approx 360 Lantern slides 4” x 3.25”, 6 canisters of microfilm, 21 smaller slides with equations, lecture notes were donated to Cornell University Library in February 2022. Samples have been uploaded to Box.

•Slides were purchased to aid in teaching students industrial engineering during the 1920s,1930s. 

•Faculty mentioned include Myron A. Lee, Professor of Industrial Engineering, Cornell University and Morris Simon Viteles, Professor of Industrial Engineering, University of Pennsylvania  

•Slides include pictures of turbines, machines, people operating machinery, people working in factories, automobiles, hiring practices, equations solving problems.

Who might be interested? Researchers studying:

  • history of industrial and labor relations, immigrants, gender studies, industrial psychology
  • history of science & technology, history of automobile production
  • discriminatory hiring practices
  • history of early Cornell engineering classes

Lantern Slides

Traveling library for factory workers during noon hour. Calithentics for women at NCR factory
Book traveling library in factory

Calisthentics in NCR Factory


Man reading a book while factory workers roll cigars, Cuba

Reader in Cigar Factory

Aptitude tests for factory workers

Aptitude test

Men operating Saw on Island of Cebu

Saw mill Cebu

A smaller slide 2" x 2", one of 20, with equations.

slide with equations

More Lantern Slides available at other institutions, see https://www.thehenryford.org/collections-and-research/digital-collections/artifact/66446

Jill Powell

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Jill Powell
103E Carpenter Hall
Engineering Library
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
Subjects: Engineering