Slide show
Posted: 17 August 2012 04:02 AM   [ Ignore ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1153
Joined  2007-02-14

It has finally sunk into my brain that the phrase slide show has been making a comeback.  This has raised a question about the origin of the term slide for the clips of 35mm film or other photographic format embedded in a cardboard frame for insertion in a projector and display on a screen.  Did the term slide originate because one would slide the object into the projector?  Is it even possible to answer that question?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 August 2012 05:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4602
Joined  2007-01-03

The OED gives the following dates for various applications under its definition 7 for slide, n.: microscopy (1837), magic lanterns and other projectors (1819) which melded into photography. The earliest citation that is definitively a photographic slide is from 1940. Oddly, it lists microscopy first, even though the magic lantern usage precedes it. There’s also a sense of the mechanism for loading photographic plates into a old-style camera listed under this main sense, which seems out of place. It should go with the other sliding mechanisms. It’s 1856, so its not the source of the slide for projection.

The entry is second edition, with some additions but not in this arena, so it doesn’t have any internet uses. I’m a bit surprised it doesn’t have the sense of acetate slides used with overhead projectors. Overall, the entry needs a lot of work, which I’m sure it will get.

It has slide show from 1956, which certainly can be antedated.

Slide show may be making a bit of a comeback, but slide has never gone away. PowerPoint slides are common, even though there is no physical object to be slid.

Faldage, what is the context in which you’ve seen it lately? I’ve mainly seen it in the context of web-based displays of photographs, especially on news sites.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 August 2012 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1949
Joined  2007-02-19

The answer to both of Faldage’s question is “yes”. I think it is fairly safe to say that “slide show” was first associated with the magic lantern. Magic lanterns, and magic lantern slide shows, have been in use since the 17th century, but only really came into their own in the 19th century, after the invention of illuminants more powerful than a candle or a simple oil lamp --- such as the Argand lamp (1780), the limelight, the electric arc lamp, etc. . In a magic lantern slide show, successive rectangular glass “slides” were slipped into place in a holder between the light source and the lens. Lantern slides evolved into what eventually could be very elaborate, detailed, beautifully coloured works of art.

I don’t suppose many of you are old enough to have seen a magic lantern slide show. A really good one could be really impressive, and a joy to watch (much more engrossing that 99% of movies)*. The development of cinema made the magic lantern obsolete, but it still has its devoted band of enthusiasts.

http://www.magiclantern.org.uk/

* In M.R. James’s ghost story “Casting the Runes” (published just over a hundred years ago) the villain, Karswell, frightens a roomful of children almost out of their wits with a lantern slide show, accompanied by sound effects.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 August 2012 02:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1153
Joined  2007-02-14
Dave Wilton - 17 August 2012 05:01 AM


Faldage, what is the context in which you’ve seen it lately? I’ve mainly seen it in the context of web-based displays of photographs, especially on news sites.

That’s exactly the context that spurred my question.

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
‹‹ Stretch, n.      Off the cuff - language log ››