Magic Shadows: The Story of the Origin of Motion Pictures

By Martin Quigley Jr. | Go to book overview

VII
POPULARIZING KIRCHER'S PROJECTOR

Kircher's magic lantern is popularized by others -- Schott -- Milliet de Chales--Zahn--Molyneux--The name and fame of the inventor are lost to the public while magic shadow projection spreads throughout Europe.

AS WITH MANY another inventor, Kircher received little praise and much blame for his invention of the magic lantern. Charges of being in league with the devil to achieve the wondrous images on the screen almost broke his spirit. Though his device was widely pirated in Europe without acknowledgement of the inventor, before Kircher's death he was able to take some satisfaction from the fact that his projector was no longer viewed as "black magic" but as a great boon for mankind. Had he lived longer he would have again been saddened as others claimed the magic lantern as their own. At this later day the name of Kircher was known only to a few scholars although the magic lantern audiences could be numbered in the many thousands.

In the first half century after the invention of the magic lantern projector, four men, in addition to Kircher himself, made its scientific principles and construction widely known. They were a curious group: Gaspar Schott, a protégé of Kircher; Claude Milliet de Chales, a French priest and military expert; Johann Zahn German writer; and William Molyneux, an Irish patriot, teacher and scientist.

Gaspar Schott was the best known of Kircher's pupils who helped to awaken scientific interest in Europe. He was born at

-62-

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Magic Shadows: The Story of the Origin of Motion Pictures
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Illustrations 6
  • Foreword 7
  • Introduction 9
  • I It Started with "A" 13
  • II Friar Bacon's Magic 24
  • III Da Vinci's Camera 29
  • IV Porta, First Screen Showman 36
  • V Kepler and the Stars 43
  • VI Kircher's 100th Art 48
  • VII Popularizing Kircher's Projector 62
  • VIII Musschenbroek and Motion 70
  • IX Phantasmagoria 75
  • X Dr. Paris' Toy 80
  • XI Plateau Creates Motion Pictures 85
  • XII The Baron's Projector 98
  • XIII The Langenheims of Philadelphia 106
  • XIV Marey and Movement 115
  • XV Edison's Peep-Show 130
  • XVI First Steps 139
  • XVII World Premieres 149
  • Appendix I MAGIC SHADOWS A Descriptive Chronology 163
  • Appendix II BIBLIOGRAPHY and Acknowledgements 177
  • Index 185
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