Volunteers are AMAZING. Recently, we have been working on the Ashmolean Museum’s lantern slide collection, and their volunteers have been helping to clean and catalogue the slides. One of the team presented us with this – a purchase from the Headington Oxfam charity shop, where she also volunteers:
It’s a box of lantern slide binding strips! Lantern slides are made up of the image sandwiched between two thin plates of glass. The glass sheets are held together by the binding strips which seal the edges and keep the whole object secure:
Most photographers made up their own lantern slides at home using these special strips. Here’s what they look like inside the box:
Reading the instructions, it turns out that applying the strips must have been a fiddly and time consuming job. You needed tweezers, a bowl of hot water, blotting paper and lots of patience. On the other hand there was no TV or internet, so what better way to spend the evening than to settle down with a pile of binding strips and a pair of tweezers?
Wet the binder both sides by holding one end with tweezers and plunging the whole binder very quickly through a dish of hot water, drawing it out quickly over the edge in such a way as to scrape off excess water from the sticky side.
Lay binder, cement uppermost, on a blotter, allow a minute to become ‘tacky.’ Pick up a slide and cover glass and press one edge firmly to a length of binder, being careful to see that the width of the binder projects equally on each side of the slide; then rub down the projecting portions on to the front and back respectively of the slide.
Continue with the remaining three sides in a similar manner, and having completed the slide allow to dry out and set.
We’ll let you know what happens if we find a moment to repair any of our damaged slides. Anyone got any blotting paper?
Excellent! For the record, I still have binding tape and a stack of blotting paper!
Maybe we could have a workshop on binding – it would be fun to film the lesson!
Great to see that lantern slides are finally becoming an item. The fore-runner of PowerPoint of course!
Yes, definitely – and their power meant that lantern slides had a huge impact on broadening education beyond the wealthy elite.