The Ancient Version Of Netflix Was Magic Lanterns

Samuel Reason | September 8th, 2018

During the Victorian era, of course, Netflix did not exist but people living during the 1800s still needed a way to chill. With no television or internet available, a different device was created allowing people to binge watch and relax: it was called the Magic Lantern.

i2.wp.com

Essentially they could be seen as the earliest form of a projector, they were very common and accessible to quite a lot of people. They were slide projectors, and could even show images in 3D or moving; allowing the Magic Lantern to captivate their audience and make people laugh. Historians originally believed only the wealthy could afford these projectors, but newly found documents suggest even middle-class families could access them. This is because the devices were regularly rented out.

When special events came about like birthday parties, holidays or other major social events then people liked to splurge and rend a magic lantern to entertain their guests. John Plunkett a professor at the University of Exeter, made the discovery by carefully going through thousands of newspapers from the time. He discovered a whole section of ads related to renting magic lanterns, which suggested that people did hire projector operators and rented slideshows. You could say it was the earliest form of blockbuster or any other DVD rental company.

And this actually did happen, the Magic Lanterns were so popular that churches and town halls quickly started to offer a catalog of slideshows that could be rented out. Some would be adapted illustrations of Charles Dicken’s novels or some may be photos showing faraway lands in Egypt.

The devices were not easily handled though, there are many reports of them causing explosions or fires, which is why many families opted to rent an operator also to set up the Magic Lantern safely in their homes. As technology moved forward and moving pictures of the 1920s appeared, Magic Lanterns were quickly forgotten.

Next Article
  • The Glow In The Dark Jellyfish Ice Cream

    Next time you are decided which scoop is best suited for you, arguing about if you prefer vanilla or strawberry - why not give glow in the dark jellyfish ice cream a go? This latest type of ice cream combines synthesized jellyfish proteins, that allow it to glow in the dark when licked. [caption id="attachment_7628"...

    Read More
  • The Terror That Was Balloonfest '86

    In 1986, United Way of Cleveland in Ohio decided to put together a world record by blowing up and releasing the most balloons ever: over one-and-a-half million balloons were released. Of course, the event was put together for fun and was meant to be completely harmless, it was a fundraising publicity stunt. However, the balloons...

    Read More
  • The Siege Of Candia Lasted 21 Years

    The city of Candia which is today known as Heraklion on Crete played an important part during the Ottoman-Venetian Wars, so much so that it was besieged for over 21 years. The siege of Candia is seen by Historians as one of the longest sieges in history. It started in 1648 and did not end...

    Read More
  • These Places Were All Abandoned Long Ago. Take a Look At Them Now

    Generally, when we think of a cool vacation stop we think of lush green gardens, maid service, infinity pools, you name it. It’s not often that we think about what happens to an area when people, for some reason, stop going and it’s left alone. Our list of abandoned places is sure to make you...

    Read More
  • A Dog’s Nose Print Is Unique Like A Human’s Fingerprint

    Each dog’s nose print is different and unique, and of course, each dog’s nose has amazing sniffing capabilities which truly make dogs one of the world’s favorite pets. What may come as a surprise is that paw prints are not really unique at all, but dogs can be identified by their nose print. [caption id="attachment_7579"...

    Read More
  • The Mysterious Indian Boulder That Continues To Defy Gravity

    Hundreds, even thousands, of tourists flock to see this 250-tonne boulder in India every year. This rock has stood for centuries and appears to be able to defy gravity, not moving at all even though it looks like it may roll at any moment. Brave tourists stand right under it, posing for an epic Instagram...

    Read More
  • The Blitz During World War II Happened By Accident

    The Blitz refers to what is thought to be a strategic campaign of bombing by the Germans against London. It also included various over English cities from 1940 to 1941, the targets were populated areas, factories, and dockyards. During the nightly bombing raids that happened across the United Kingdom, many...

    Read More
  • The Myth Of Sharks Curing Cancer

    One great myth that was making rounds across the scientific world and across all the internet was that sharks had suddenly become the cure for cancer. And they are indeed incredible animals, probably one of the world’s most famous creatures: everyone knows what a shark is. Some people are fascinated and some people shudder in...

    Read More