Saturday, November 19, 2016

‘Restoration of King Solomon’s Temple’

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:

The Restoration
of King Solomon’s Temple
Presented by RW Peter A. Flihan
Thursday, December 15
6:30 p.m.
Livingston Library
Masonic Hall
71 West 23rd Street, 14th Floor

RW Peter A. Flihan
Grand Treasurer
Join us December 15 for a journey through time. Reading from a script prepared in 1926 for Masonic education, RW Peter A. Flihan will narrate the story of the Restoration of King Solomon’s Temple while we marvel at the projected images of the original hand-colored slides.

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.


Michael S. Detchman said...

My Lodge (Mosaic #55) in Norfolk, Nebraska has a lovely example of this magic lantern and the full set of slides. It was converted from the original Carbon-arc to incandescent lamps some many years ago! I wish I could attend your show!

Christopher Hodapp said...

We have two unusual glass slides in our lodge's archives, to present late 19th century state of the art SFX. One is a beehive with a small crank on top to make the bee specks spin around the hive. The other is an Order of the Temple slide with Christ ascending. Turn the crank, and He rises into the clouds.