The magic lantern pictured above was priced at a hefty $54.00 in 1927. This Balopticon came with a 500-watt, 115-volt Mazda lamp, with a ground and polished glass reflector, 15 feet of extension cord with a connecting plug and switch, double slide carrier, metal carrying case, and a 1 5/8 inch diameter, 6-inch-focus projection lens in a spiral-focusing mount. The Bausch & Lomb catalog described it as follows:
“THIS compact, efficient little instrument met with instant success when placed upon the market a few years ago and has increased in popularity constantly until it is now one of the most widely known for use with lantern slides only in schoolrooms, small auditoriums, Sunday school rooms, lodges and in the home. Because of its demonstrated merit, it has been adopted as standard equipment by several large distributing organizations.
“It is constructed throughout of a substantial weight of sheet metal, the various parts being made with special forming tools, thus providing lightness in weight, rigidity and durability. The finish is a smooth black.
“The top of the lamp is removable, permitting easy access to the illuminant, and the base is provided with an adjustable plate in which may be interchanged the 500-watt, 115-volt lamp, which is entirely silent and automatic, and can be attached to any ordinary lamp socket, the 6-volt lamp or the acetylene burner. The 30-volt, 14-ampere lamp, for use on Delco and other individual home lighting circuits, requires a special plate, as it must be provided with a mogul socket.
“The condensing lenses, two plano-convex, fit in a square mounting connecting the lamp house and slide carrier support. Each condenser is held in place by a metal guide, while the hinged cover of the mounting has two clips, which hold the condenser in position and prevent their shaking about during shipment. The cover is fastened down by a small set screw.
“Only well-known projection lenses are supplied with this instrument. They are made in diameters of either 1 5/8 or 2 5/16 inches. The former are made in 6, 8, and 10-inch focal lengths, mounted in either a spiral or rack and pinion focusing mount, and the latter in 10 to 24-inch focal lengths, in rack and pinion focusing mount. The larger diameter is particularly recommended, because of the fact that the illumination is increased approximately 40 per cent over that of the smaller diameter.
“A very compact metal case, into which the lantern may be easily placed, is regularly supplied with each equipment, affording an easy means for carrying the instrument and a dust-proof cabinet in which to store it when not in use. This lantern may be equipped with a special short focus lens—thereby adapting it for use with a translucent screen.”*
Its specifications were listed as follows:
“Base—Consists of front and rear metal standards, front standard fitted with eleveating device, carried on sliding rods with extension for 15-ich lens.
“Lamp House—Of sheet metal with special ventilation, measures 6 ½ x 7 x 5 inches with removable top; all illuminants interchangeable in one housing.
“Illuminant—Our 500-watt, 115-volt, gas-filled Mazda lamp, 30-volt, 14-ampere Mazda, 6-volt Mazda, or two-jet acetylene burner.
“Condensing System—Our regular double system, 4 5/16-inch diameter, in ventilated mount from which lenses can be easily removed for cleaning.
“Slide Carrier—Our double carrier, No. 4430, with elevating device.
“Projection Lens—Balo lens of 1 5/8 or 2 5/16-inch diameter.
“Dimensions—Length (ready for operation), 22 inches; height, 9 ¼ iches.
“Weight—Complete in case, 13-15 pounds, depending on equipment
“Case—Sheet metal, 7 ¼ x 9 ½ x 15 inches, lacquered in black; with carrying strap.
“The quick changing slide carrier, No. 4449, giving a dissolving effect, may be substituted for $3.00 extra.”
*Speaking of the “Trans-Lux Screen” illustrated above, the Bausch & Lomb catalog states:
“The Trans-Lux screen is very practical for ‘daylight’ projection in comparatively small rooms. The material of which the screen is made is very tough and durable and will give excellent results for years. It can be removed from the frame, rolled up like a map, and be safely cleaned with alcohol. These screens are complete with frame and convenient tripod. They are made in four standard sizes.”
The sizes ranged from 24 x 30 inches to 48 x 60 inches, and the price ranged from $25.00 to $80.00. Like Bausch & Lomb magic lanterns or Balopticons, they too were quite expensive items for the average person at the time.