The Stereopticon

C. Goodwin Norton was one of a number of professional “lanternists” who gained considerable popularity in the late 19th century. Presenters like Norton shaped their own programs, often travelogues and ethnographic lectures delivered to mixed-sex audiences in such venues as cultural and church-based institutions. With so-called “biunial” and “triunial” (double- and triple-lens) projectors like the one featured in the ad on the right, skilled operators could deploy various techniques to enhance their narratives. In the United States, the business of selling slides and machines grew rapidly after the Civil War, and the technology continued to improve into the 1890s.

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