True magic—the intricacy of a lantern slide

June 30 | 2020

In my recent book, The Smallest Objective, a whole chapter is devoted to my paternal grandfather, Dr. Simon Kirsch. A botanist at McGill University in the early 20th century, Simon created his own lantern slides illustrating the cellular composition of plants. Each slide consists of a glass plate imprinted with a positive image. The images on the slides were projected by means of a magic lantern, a wooden box with a flame chamber like this one in the collection of the McCord Museum in Montreal: