Louis Pasteur at 200

There is a new exhibition at Yale’s Medical Historical Library marking 200 years since the birth of the famous French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895). It runs until January 20, 2023. I was happy to be able to contribute a Pasteur-related object from our own collection to it!

Credit: Christopher Zollo, Medical Historical Library, Yale University.

Pasteur and his colleagues sent many pieces of his equipment around the world to commemorate his work. While the Germans had destroyed his laboratory in Lille in 1914, Professor Robert Pascal the Director of the School of Chemistry at the University of Lille managed to recover this and other pieces of glassware dating from Pasteur’s time.

This handblown glass U-Tube with side outlet was in use at Lille while Pasteur was researching fermentation in 1854-1857. It and other pieces came to America through Professor John Frazer (1882-1964) and made their way to Yale. Frazer had been born in France but was educated and worked in Chemistry in the United States.

Credit: Christopher Zollo, Medical Historical Library, Yale University.

From 1922 to 1923, the chemist was Exchange Professor of Applied Science to the French universities of Grenoble, Lyon, Marseilles, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Nancy, Paris, Sorbonne, Lille, Rennes, Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers, and the école de Physique et Chemie, Paris. A number of American universities including Yale had chosen Frazer for the position. It was well-publicized that he brought back Pasteur-related glassware which then made its way to different universities (for example here, here and here).

Many thanks to Yale graduate students Thomas Anderson and Alicia Petersen for helping me and the exhibition curator Melissa Grafe do further research on our piece of Pasteur!

Ida Barney – calculating the cosmos

This blog post is by my summer intern, Taylor Barton, who will be a Junior at Yale in the Fall! Over the past eight weeks, Taylor has done archival and object-based research, helped with classes and exhibition design, created displays for our viewing window, and recorded oral histories – among many other things.

How do we know the position of stars in space? How do we track their movements across the night sky? These answers can be attributed to the Yale Zone Catalogs, which contain over 150,000 stars that were measured and logged by Yale alumna and astronomer Dr. Ida Barney (1886-1982). The HST collection is honored to present her life and accomplishments through recently acquired objects from the Department of Astronomy at Yale University.

Ida Barney, as depicted in the book “Astronomy at Yale 1701-1968”, published by her successor Dorrit Hoffleit in 1992. Credit: Yale Department of Astronomy.

Ida Barney was born in New Haven, Connecticut on November 6, 1886, to a Yale professor of civil engineering. She left New Haven to attend Smith College for her undergraduate education but soon returned to earn her Ph.D. in Mathematics at Yale in 1911. After receiving her Ph.D., Barney worked as a professor of mathematics at several colleges for women, but as the years went on she became increasingly frustrated with the teaching profession. She then returned once again to Yale to work as a research assistant from 1922-1946, and as a research associate from 1948-1955 in the Yale University Observatory.

In her role as a research associate, she oversaw the calculations for thousands upon thousands of stars, both plotting the stars’ positions on plates and finding their celestial coordinates. These types of tedious calculation jobs were seen as fitting for women at the time, but Dr. Barney proved that she should not be underestimated when she created several new methods of measuring that significantly improved both the accuracy and speed of the calculations. Due to all of her hard work and significant contributions, she was named co-author of the Yale Zone Catalogs published during her time assisting astronomer Frank Schlesinger.

Volumes 4, 5, and 27 of the Yale Zone Catalogs in the HST collection. Credit: Taylor Barton, Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

After Schlesinger’s retirement in 1941, Dr. Barney gained full control over the catalogs, and made more positive changes to the project. Under her guidance, the Yale Observatory and the Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory were able to work together to create an automatic centering and measuring machine that improved the accuracy of calculations by up to 40%. The data in her catalogs is incredibly important and relevant, as it is still being used in astronomical research today.

However, despite Barney’s extraordinary accomplishments, she still held a lower rank and was paid less than her male coworkers during her time at Yale – a fact which always really bothered her. She published her catalogs with Dorrit Hoffleit and Rebecca B. Jones as her co-authors, giving women a foothold in astronomy, a field that was clearly sexist at the time. She eventually completed an astonishing 22 volumes, three examples of which are in the HST collection, containing over 150,000 stars.

On the top is Zone Catalog volume 4, co-written by Frank Schlesinger and Ida Barney. On the bottom, is Zone Catalog volume 27, co-written by Ida Barney, Dorrit Hoffleit, and Rebecca B. Jones – all of whom were women. Credit: Taylor Barton, Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

Due to her outstanding work, Barney was awarded the seventh Annie Jump Cannon Award from the American Astronomical Society in 1952. The prize was created in order to honor women who have made significant contributions to astronomy. It was additionally meaningful to Dr. Barney, as Annie Jump Cannon had worked with her and Frank Schlesinger on completing the early zone catalogs.

Recipients of the prize were given a brooch, as directed by Cannon herself, as well as an engraved plate. Dr. Barney wore her award brooch at every astronomical event she attended for the rest of her lifetime. Both the brooch and plate can now be found in the HST collection at the Peabody Museum.

Credit: Taylor Barton, Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.
Credit: Taylor Barton, Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

Ida Barney’s legacy lives on, not only in her work on the Yale Zone Catalogs and in the women for whom she paved the way in astronomy – but also in 5655 Barney, an asteroid named after her in 1994!

Centuries of Climate Knowledge

In late Spring 2022, I got to share our collection with Professor Deborah Coen‘s course “Making Climate Knowledge” in History of Science and Medicine for the second time! The class examines how scientists have studied and responded to human impacts on the environment. It also explores the intersections of climate knowledge with racism, imperialism, and extractive capitalism.

Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

The students loved exploring some of our objects related to measuring and experimenting with environmental conditions across the centuries. We gave them a list of questions to consider when looking at the objects, to help get them going.

Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

They went on to come up with many great questions and theories of their own about how specific instruments worked and fit into the historical and philosophical contexts which they had been studying.

Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

Professor Coen also integrated some specific objects into her class lecture. I especially loved how she incorporated one of our latest acquisitions, while the students sat right next to it!

Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

This is a rare diagonal mirror barometer and thermometer, which was generously donated to us by Joel Confino and Lisa Alter. The well-known barometer maker John Patrick of London sold it in about 1710.

Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

A similar example is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. Patrick’s advertisements depict this exact style of instrument. His probate inventory also shows that there were mirrors for making them in his workshop when he passed away in 1730.

Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

The class concluded with a wonderfully insightful student discussion! Thank you to Debbie Coen for involving our collection in her course – and to Alicia Petersen, our Graduate Research Assistant, for her immeasurable help with the session.

Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

Thinking with Scientific Instruments – workshop on 2-3 June 2022

Professor Paola Bertucci and I are producing a multi-authored scholarly book inspired by our History of Science and Technology collection at the Peabody Museum for Yale University Press. Many of the authors from the book will be speaking about their research on 2-3 June 2022 at the workshop, “Thinking with Scientific Instruments: Explorations in the Material History of Science and Technology”.

The talks and some of the discussion and break periods will be open to the public, if anyone would like to join in person in New Haven or over Zoom. You can see the program below. You need to register separately for Zoom on June 2 and June 3. If you have any questions or would like to register to attend in person, contact Sarah Pickman.

“My mother was a phonograph”

This Graphophone from our collection lists patent dates from 1886 to 1894. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

In 1877, Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, the first device that could record and play back sound. However, he didn’t immediately focus on improving and commercializing the invention. That fell to other people, including Alexander Graham Bell and his colleagues, who developed an alternative which they called the “Graphophone“. Read more about the fascinating history of this technology in my latest article for the Yale Alumni Magazine!

If you would like to check out past articles about objects from our collection in the Alumni Magazine, they include: John Stuart Gordon from the Yale University Art Gallery talking about one of our Wimshurst electrical machines from the 1800s; me talking about one of our Singer sewing machines from the 1800s; and David Skelly, the director of the Peabody Museum, talking about one of our solar projection microscopes from the 1700s.

If not for glass, science would be blind

Yale’s scientific glassblowers, Daryl and Preston Smith, have been giving amazing lampworking demonstrations to Peabody Museum staff! They kindly offered to do so after we approached them about contributing to our new exhibition gallery for the History of Science and Technology collection.

Daryl and Preston, who are father and son, make glassware for 17 departments at Yale. They also supply other universities including Vanderbilt, NYU, and Stonybrook as well as businesses and artists across the United States.

Daryl originally worked in aquaculture before doing a unique degree in scientific glassmaking at Salem Community College, followed by an 8,000-hour apprenticeship. You can read more about his background in glassmaking here. He became Yale’s full-time scientific glassmaker in 2005, and Preston later joined him after doing a degree in mathematics, completing his own apprenticeship at Yale.

Daryl’s motto is, “If not for glass, science would be blind” – in recognition of the many ways that glass has been central to scientific apparatus over the centuries. Our own collection is full of all kinds of glass components including lenses, mirrors, filters, images, electrical insulators, and vessels and plates for containing or excluding or protecting.

Daryl and Preston use blowtorches, handheld tools, and machines including lathes and ovens to reshape and to fuse together glass components. “Glass is an amorphous solid. When it goes from liquid phase back to solid phase, it doesn’t form a rigid crystalline structure,” Daryl explains. When he or Preston combine components, “they become in essence one piece of glass – physically, structurally, and molecularly.”

The glassblowers work at temperatures which can exceed 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. After so many years of experience, they know what is happening by sight and feel rather than by consulting instruments like thermometers. They use tools made of materials like graphite, which won’t melt or stick to the hot glass, and sometimes attach “cold sticks” to act as temporary handles while working the glass. After lampworking, the pieces go into an oven at more than 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit to eliminate thermal strain.  

Daryl and Preston often work closely with researchers and students to design glassware tailored to their specific needs. For example, they designed a vessel in which researchers at the Yale Medical School could grow new human veins for transplants with lower rejection rates.

They are currently working on 50 copies of a glass vessel for the University of Connecticut, into which they seal samples of different materials for accelerated tests of environmental weathering. Some have electrical components on the side. Each takes about an hour to make including preparations.

In addition to working with researchers, Daryl teaches a Scientific Glassblowing course for Yale students. He says that it can be therapeutic for them, because it is so different from their normal coursework.

One of the first things which the student glassblowers often make is a swirling marble. They might not be able to make them perfectly spherical at first – but that has the side effect of keeping the students safer, because asymmetrical marbles are less likely to roll off of the bench while blazing hot!

Daryl and Preston are sometimes asked to craft gifts like this goblet for visiting lecturers. Credit: Sarah Morrill, Yale Peabody Museum.

Yale departments sometimes ask Preston and Daryl to craft gifts for visiting speakers, too, like this goblet with an ornate multicolor stem in the early modern style.

The Peabody staff to whom the Yale glassblowers gave lampworking demonstrations were excited to receive their own gifts as well, with each person receiving a glass stirring rod made in the workshop. “You can stir your chemical concoction or beverage of choice!”, Preston quipped.

Enjoying and interrogating historical images and cameras

Hand-painted and mechanical lantern slides from the 1800s and photographic lantern slides from the early 1900s. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

Our collection supported two Yale courses on photography this semester, which took different approaches to helping students to engage with historical images and imaging technologies!

Students examine the slides on a lightbox. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.
Colorful hand-painted lantern slides and black-and-white astronomical slides from the 1800s and early 1900s. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

Jennifer Raab and Siobhan Angus held a class session with our objects for their course Material Histories of Photography in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration and History of Art. The course incorporated collections into exploring the specific material histories of photographs and how they intersect with issues including class, race, gender, settler-colonialism, and the environment.

Students examine some of the 1,000 slides from the “Pageant of America” history set which Yale University Press started selling in the 1920s. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

For our class session, we looked at and discussed a variety of historical technologies and images related to the history of photography and the longer history of image production and projection. Some of the students also did class projects on our lantern slides!

Students examine hand-painted medical slides on a lightbox and in the background, a Kodak Brownie camera. In the foreground are an early 20th-century magic lantern projector and an Apollo-era X-ray camera used to study soil samples that astronauts brought back from the Moon. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

It was great to get to share our objects with students so engaged with historical imagery and its contexts. A number of people were also determined to figure out how to operate the different early 20th-century cameras which I brought.

Students examine a gun-style wildlife camera and a Kodak Brownie camera from the early 1900s. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.
Alicia Petersen, the Graduate Research Assistant for our collection this year, helps a student follow the original manual for one of our Kodak Brownie cameras. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

We also did an object-based class with Chitra Ramalingam‘s course Photography and the Sciences in History, History of Science and Medicine, and History of Art. The course looked at photography’s experimental and evidentiary roles within the sciences and at how these might have influenced artistic photography. This course incorporated archival documents and visits to collections.

Dr. Ramalingam’s class examines historical images and publications. Alicia points out historical cameras which we also brought. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

Dr. Ramalingam has been including a session with historical images and imaging technologies from our collection in this course for a number of years. She presents her students with specific sets of images and with related scientific or popular documents from the same time period. The students examine and discuss them and draw upon what they have learned during the course to make observations and ask questions.

Alicia and Chitra (standing) help students to look at medical lantern slides and at negatives, plates, and prints of early medical X-rays. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

It is always fascinating to see what the students think and what connections and parallels they can draw between different subjects from observing the objects, without our giving them all of the answers!

Chitra helps a student to use a stereoviewer to examine stereoscopic images on glass from time-motion studies of worker efficiency conducted by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. The efficiency experts and industrial engineers inspired “Cheaper by the Dozen”. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

The Museum as an Agent of Change

Jessie Park opens the class at the Collection Studies Center at Yale’s West Campus. Credit: Division of the History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

It was enlightening to discuss a number of our early modern objects with the students in Jessie Park‘s course this semester, The Museum as an Agent of Change: Rethinking Early Modern Art in a Global Context! Dr. Park, who is an Assistant Curator of European Art at the Yale University Art Gallery, is co-curating a 2023 exhibition there on early modern science with Professor Paola Bertucci.

The students take notes alongside artifacts including an astrolabe from the 1500s, surveying and navigational instruments from the 1700s – and Yale’s earliest known surviving telescope, a pocket globe, and a mechanical model of the solar system all from the early 1800s. Credit: Division of the History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

Jessie’s course explores themes in art history including its “global turn”, how Eurocentrism affects collecting and curation, and strategies for better representing the artwork and stories of BIPOC and other people and communities frequently marginalized within the discipline.

Jessie and I show the students the case associated with an octant made in England in the late 1700s or early 1800s. It contains a label from an American reseller as well as a 20th-century label about a Yale professor using the instrument to recreate observations from the Lewis and Clark expedition. Credit: Division of the History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

I and Dr. Park discussed with the students a number of the objects which we are loaning to her exhibition from the Peabody Museum’s History of Science and Technology collection. This allowed us to unpack how the course themes relate to the histories, collecting, and curation of historical artifacts like technologies as compared to artworks.

I show the students our astrolabe made by Georg Hartmann of Nuremberg in 1537, while discussing the longer and more global histories of the astrolabe and many other types of instruments. Credit: Division of the History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

I also discussed the ways in which I personally contextualize these objects and related histories, while teaching with and communicating about a collection which is skewed towards technologies made in Europe and North America. This is because our collection initially grew out of Yale’s own scientific apparatus.

The smaller early modern technologies which we showed the class included microscopes and slides, pocket watches, sundials, spyglasses, and a scale for weighing diamonds. Credit: Division of the History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

It was great to dive into these subjects with students who are so keen on museums and on their becoming more representative and ethical institutions!

Surgery, Spectacles, and a Giant Syringe

Students examine a French amputation saw from the 1700s. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

I recently got to share a variety of interesting medical artifacts with two sessions of the Yale course Medicine and the Humanities: Certainty and Unknowing. The instructor Matthew Morrison, M.D. is an emergency room doctor as well as a literature aficionado. This is the second semester that we’ve incorporated historical objects into his class, and it was another rousing success!

Students examine medical images – from 19th-century X-rays to early 20th-century stereoscopic images for teaching doctors about dermatology – as well as some of the technologies used to view them. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

Although the students seemed fascinated by everything, getting to handle certain objects was clearly a highlight. They were able to view one of our ebony-framed microscope slides of vibrantly-dyed tissue samples made in about 1860 by Josef Hyrtl – using the binocular style of microscope which Zentmayer originally designed for use in Civil War battlefield hospitals.

Students look at a 19th-century slide through a 19th-century microscope and flip through Henry Baker’s popular book “The Microscope Made Easy” from 1743. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

They also got to hold our very heavy, two-foot long, pewter syringe from the 1700s. Such piston syringes were used for medical treatments including giving enemas, cleaning wounds, and applying mercury to treat syphilis.

The students enjoyed exploring different styles of eyeglasses or spectacles from across the centuries as well. These included Nuremberg-style spectacles from the 1600s which perched on the nose, Scarlett-style spectacles from about 1730 right after temple arms were invented, pince-nez style spectacles from the late 1700s, and gorgeous Chinese tortoise shell spectacles with dark lenses from about 1800.

An assortment of artifacts related to the eyes, ears, teeth, bloodletting, and medications. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

I also added some new objects to the mix this semester. These included a Victorian trepanning set for skull surgery sold by the surgical instrument makers John Evans & Co. of London in the early 1800s. Professor Emeritus Thomas Lentz, MD recently donated it to the collection. It has a variety of cutting and scraping tools with ebony handles in a velvet-lined, mahogany case. One is a Hey’s saw, which the English surgeon William Hey designed to make cuts at different angles.

A complete trepanning set sold by John Evans & Co. of London in the early 1800s. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

I also added a giant steel anthropometer made by P. Hermann of Zurich in the early 1900s, which was used in Physical Anthropology at Yale. Anthropometry used tools like these to systematically measure human bodies for identification or to understand physical variations. Anthropometry also played a major role in scientific racism, because many White scientists claimed that comparative body measurements proved that White people were superior to everyone else. These prejudiced scientific beliefs helped to support horrific practices including slavery, violence and murder, forced medical procedures, and legal and social persecution.

The giant anthropometer sits to the right of the giant pewter syringe. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

Medical artifacts like these can be used to evoke and discuss a wide variety of subjects related to history and to its modern impacts and parallels. These could range for example from changing fashions with respect to items like spectacles and ear trumpets – to the evolving patient experience through items like gruesome-looking tooth extractors and amputation saws – to the ways in which prejudiced medicine and science have caused rather than relieved human suffering.

Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

The Art and Science of Photography

A variety of Yale courses are being enriched by objects from our History of Science and Technology collection this semester! They encompass history of science, art history, museums studies, medicine, and literature.

The instructors for two courses related to photography recently came to Yale’s Collection Studies Center at West Campus, so that we could start picking interesting objects related to their themes. Chitra Ramalingam has been incorporating our artifacts into her course Photography and the Sciences for a number of years. Jennifer Raab and Siobhan Angus are diving in for the first time for their course Material Histories of Photography.

From left to right – Siobhan Angus, Alicia Petersen, and Chitra Ramalingam. Alicia is the Graduate Research Assistant for our collection this year. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

We have a wide variety of historical technologies, images, and ephemera related to the development of photography across the past two hundred years. We also have many artifacts related to the image production and projection techniques which preceded photography, such as the magic lantern and camera obscura.

Chitra and Siobhan looked at some of the fascinating cameras which were used at Yale itself. These included for example a Buerger precession x-ray camera used to study lunar soil samples from the Apollo moon landings, as well as a unique gun-style wildlife camera from the early 1900s.

Gun-style wildlife camera from the early 1900s with its case and accessories. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

We also looked at some more recent donations from Professor Thomas Lentz, MD, including a Polaroid Land Camera Model 95 from about 1948 with its original case and accessories. This was the first commercially-available model of the Land Camera, an instant camera with self-developing film named after Polaroid co-founder Edwin Land (1909-1991). It produced sepia-colored prints in about one minute.

Polaroid Land Camera Model 95 from about 1948. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.
Accessories for the Polaroid Land Camera. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

It can sometimes be tricky to figure out how to set up and operate different models of camera from across the centuries. Chitra gradually solved the puzzle of this mahogany side-wing tailboard camera made by Watson & Sons of London in about 1885!

Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.
Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.
Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.
Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.
Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

Historical cameras like these are complemented by a variety of historical photographs and photographic prints in our collection. We looked at some of our daguerreotypes, images produced by the first publicly-available photographic process beginning in the 1840s and 1850s.

This example is a framed set of six daguerreotypes taken of members of the Woodruff and Bushnell families of Connecticut in 1852. A number of men from these families graduated from Yale, and the university has related letters preserved in its Manuscripts and Archives.

Daguerreotypes of Woodruffs and Bushnells from 1852. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

Our photographic prints of some of the earliest medical X-rays are also popular for courses. Arthur W. Goodspeed at the University of Pennsylvania produced these X-rays in 1896. Sets of prints of the X-rays, mounted on heavy card like fashionable photographs, were then shared with correspondents and with institutions like Yale.

Some of our photographic prints of Goodspeed’s medical X-rays from 1896. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.
Siobhan examines the prints of Goodspeed’s X-rays. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

Chitra also examined stereoscopic images on glass from time-motion studies of worker efficiency conducted by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. The Gilbreths were efficiency experts and industrial engineers, whose family life and work inspired the book and films entitled Cheaper by the Dozen.

Chitra shows Alicia the Gilbreth stereoscopic images. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.
One of the Gilbreth stereoscopic images up-close. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

We frequently use magic lanterns and their slides in courses related to photography as well. Lanterns were used to project images for audiences of all sizes from the 1600s to the mid-1900s. They both preceded photography and embraced it once processes were invented for transferring photos onto glass slides in the 1800s.

Chitra examines one of our sets of scientific lantern slides used in Physics at Yale. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.
Siobhan and Chitra look through some of the 1,000 slides in our “Pageant of America” set, which Yale University Press starting selling in the 1920s. The slide set was frequently advertised to teachers. Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

The magic lantern which most enchanted our visitors, even though it did not come with photographic slides, was this tiny recent donation! This lantern is only 6 ½ inches tall and uses a kerosene lamp as the light source. It was sold by the Ernst Plank company of Germany in 1898.

The lantern has its original box bearing a charming picture of children using a magic lantern and instructions in German, French, and English. It comes with 12 cartoon-like slide strips.

Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.
Credit: Division of History of Science and Technology, Yale Peabody Museum.

It is always wonderful to collaborate with instructors like Chitra, Siobhan, and Jenny to complement classes with interesting historical artifacts. We also learn a lot ourselves from teachers and their students.

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