Ian Hatch (wererogue) wrote,
Ian Hatch

Cave of Wonders

Sorry stu_the_elder, different cave.
Anyway, this evening I helped Hazel to restore her magic lantern.

It's a lovely piece of equipment, originally lit with a gas lamp, but converted to use a bulb. Hazel picked it up on Ebay while she was in Toronto, and I agreed to help her get it working - to be honest, I was excited just to see it, let alone get the chance to fiddle with it!

First order of business was to get the condenser lenses in place. The lenses are a little small for the condenser tube, so we wrapped them in masking tape - we'll trim that later, to give a better outline to the image.

With the lenses in place, we changed the plug from the ancient North American fitting to a shiny new UK one.
The old plug:

Not pictured: the horrible mashing of the wires into the terminals.
The new plug:

It was also a good opportunity for Hazel to get to know UK plug wiring.
So, using the 400W bulb Hazel picked up from a DIY store in TO, we switched it on. Hazel thought the bulb was likely to have broken in transit, but it was just fine - until we fed 240V into a 110V bulb, that is:

The coils were fine, but it blew one of the contacts right out of the glass support!

Fortunately, I'd been expecting this, and picked up an array of less-suitable bulbs to use in the mean time - I'll try and pick up a 400W bulb tomorrow. We tried out a little 25W bulb to make sure that wasn't going to blow too - it was fine once we replaced the fuse in the plug. In the end we settled on a 100W bulb. Here it is, mounted in the light chamber:

Then the shielding goes back on. As the lantern used to be lit by a flame, it even has a chimney!

More detail on the chimney:

The focusing (objective) lens tube:

And it's housing, with fine focus control and douser. The focus control is stiff, and has worn the toothing on the gears - we need to pick up some suitable grease. For the mean time I removed the fine focus spindle to save any more wear.

So, with everything in place, it's time to fire it up!

All systems go! We used some negatives Hazel had lying around as a slide.

The lamp viewing port:

The focal length was rather longer than we expected - to get a good focus, we had to aim the lantern out of the workroom door, and focus on the wall - and move the objective lens forward of the douser! But the image was fantastic...

Er, I guess you'll have to believe me. It doesn't seem to show up on my camera phone too well!
Of course, we couldn't leave it at that:

We had a look at the gate assembly:

Hazel drew up plans for a slide mount:

The reflector could use a little polish:

On top of the lantern is engraved 'Kamm's Patent' and on the back, 'The "Kama"' is moulded. If anyone knows the history of this model, we'd love to hear about it.

Hazel measuring bits of the apparatus:

Tags: geekery, life
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