The essential parts of a magic lantern are a condensing lens to make the beam of light converge upon the slide to illuminate it evenly, a projecting lens with which to throw an enlarged picture of the illuminated slide upon a screen and some appliances for preserving the proper relation of these parts to each other. The best of materials should be used and the parts put together with care to produce a clear picture on the screen.
Illustration: Lantern House
The first to make is the lamp house or box to hold the light. Our illustration shows the construction for an electric light, yet the same box may be used for gas or an oil lamp, provided the material is of metal. A tin box having dimensions somewhere near those given in the diagrammatic sketch may be secured from your local grocer, but if such a box is not found, one can be made from a piece of tin cut as shown in Fig. 1. When this metal is bent at right angles on the dotted lines it will form a box as shown in Fig. 2 which is placed on a baseboard, 1/2 to 3/4 in. thick, 8 in. wide, and 14 in. long. This box should be provided with a reflector located just back of the lamp.
Illustration: Magic Lantern Details
Procure a plano-convex or a bi-convex 6-in. lens with a focal length of from 15 to 20 in. and a projecting lens 2 in. in diameter with such a focal length that will give a picture of the required size, or a lens of 12-in. focus enlarging a 3-in. slide to about 6 ft. at a distance of 24 ft.
The woodwork of the lantern should be of 1/2-in., well seasoned pine, white wood or walnut and the parts fastened together with wood screws, wire brads, or glue, as desired. The board in which to mount the condensing lens is 16 in. wide and 15 in. high, battened on both ends to keep the wood from warping. The board is centered both ways, and, at a point 1 in. above the center, describe a 9-in. circle with a compass and saw the wood out with a scroll or keyhole saw. If a small saw is used, and the work carefully done, the circular piece removed will serve to make the smaller portion of the ring for holding the condensing lens. This ring is made up from two rings, A and B, Fig. 3. The inside and outside diameters of the ring B are 3/8 in. greater than the corresponding diameters of ring A, so when fastened together concentrically an inner rabbet is formed for the reception of the lens and an outer rabbet to fit against the board C in and against which it rotates being held in place by buttons, DD.
A table, E, about 2 ft. long is fastened to the board C with brackets F and supported at the outer end with a standard. The slide support, G, and the lens slide, H, are constructed to slip easily on the table, E, the strips II serving as guides. Small strips of tin, JJ, are bent as shown and fastened at the top and bottom of the rectangular opening cut in the support G for holding the lantern slides.
All the parts should be joined together snugly and the movable parts made to slide freely and when all is complete and well sandpapered, apply two coats of shellac varnish. Place the lamp house on the bottom board behind the condensing lens and the lantern is ready for use.
The proper light and focus may be obtained by slipping the movable parts on the board E, and when the right position is found for each, all lantern slides will produce a clear picture on the screen, if the position of the lantern and screen is not changed. --Contributed by Stuart Mason Kerr, St. Paul, Minn.