Long before there was PowerPoint, and even predating the Kodak Carousel by decades, there was a marvelous technology named Magic Lantern. Among its users were lodges of Freemasons, which employed this wizardry to, er, illuminate the lecture portions of the three degrees of initiation in a time when tracing boards were being phased out.
|Courtesy Livingston Library|
The slides were hand-painted glass lenses encased in wooden frames that were bigger than your hand, and that had to be inserted into and removed from the Magic Lantern projector by hand as the narration of the lecture proceeded.
Next time you clean out your lodge’s attic or other forgotten, neglected storage space, and you happen upon these quaint and mysterious objects, that’s what they are.
Fast forward to 2016 (Is even fast forward a thing any more?) and the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York will host a presentation of a collection of the Magic Lantern images from 1926 in a holiday season gathering open to Masons and friends of Freemasonry. From the publicity:
|RW Peter A. Flihan|
Surrounded by candlelight, with eggnog in hand, friends and family will enjoy this meaningful tale perfectly timed for the holiday season.
This presentation is free and open to all. Please RSVP to the library here.
Thursdays usually are impossible for me, but with the promise of eggnog, I will be there. Remember, photo ID is required to enter Masonic Hall, and don’t forget to RSVP to the library.