T.H Allister Optician, N.Y. wooden-framed lantern slide depicting a robin at a window, colour-tinted. The manufacturer T.H. McAllister was a leading American family of optical lantern manufacturers. In 1775 John McAllister emigrated to the USA from Scotland and opened there some years later an enlarged optical business in Philadelphia. From 1798 to 1811 the business trades as McAllister & Matthews, then as McAllister & Son. From 1830 the firm traded under the name John McAllister & Co. and possible that was also the start of their work with magic lanterns. By 1846 they were one of the greatest American dealers in magic lanterns and slides. From the early 1900s the New York firm gradually concentrated on professional lanterns and moving picture machines. From 1917 the firm continued until 1942 under the trade name McAllister-Keller Co. Inc. This dissolving view would have been used with another scene to be gradually faded away, while the other was gradually faded in, giving the effect of a scene slowly changing before the eyes of the spectator. During the second half of the 19th century this technique was widely use, using a pair of lanterns side-by-side. Later, particularly after the widespread adoption of limelight illuminants, biunial lanterns were used, and eventually triple lanterns or triunials. With dissolving views pairs of related images, subtle and surprising effects could be presented. A daytime scene could mix slowly into the identical scene at night. In some cases, particularly in later years where a triunial was used, it was possible to add further effects; for example, the windows in a building (like this slide) could gradually become illuminated by using a slide that featured only the glowing window and was otherwise entirely black. Another popular dissolving view subject was the changing of the seasons, with the further enhancements such as the addition of falling snow.

Item number 91294
Category Lantern Slide
Type Magic Lantern
Language English
Country of origin USA