According to magiclanternsociety.org the lantern slide has its origins in 17th century optical viewing devices which came to be known as “magic lanterns.” The earliest slides for magic lanterns consisted of hand-painted images on glass, projected by itinerant showmen telling stories about the images that were projected.
Just last week, we had some very unique slides come to us for scanning in as a digital file. They were so unique, some of us had never seen any like that. The gentleman who brought them in gave us a little background about the slides.
It is believed that these hand-painted glass slides were produced sometime between 1910 and 1925. Most of these slides were used during initiation ceremonies in the Blue Lodge. The remaining slides were used during the initiation ceremonies of the York Rite.
The glass slides were used to augment lectures that were given when new men joined the fraternity. By themselves, one would not know what the so called “secrets of Freemasonry” are, but when used in conjunction with the lectures, they assisted the new members to understand the secrets for themselves.