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[Original Art]

View at Kansas Memory

Accession Number: 1949.22.24

Physical Description: Hand painted glass lanternslide in rectangular wood frame with leather lever. Painting depicts a ship at sea. The painting is made up of two pieces of glass. The top piece is painted with a black ship at the top, center of the glass. A crack runs through the center of this piece of glass. The bottom piece of glass is painted dark blue with a splashing wave at the right side to look like rough waters. The ship piece is housed in a circular leather frame sewn together with thread. A leather lever is attached to this frame (this allows the ship to move on the water, appearing to rock at sea). The leather frame is held in place, above and below, by two pieces of metal. The top piece is nailed into the wood at the right corner; the bottom piece has slot screws on each side. The wood has been cut to house the metal pieces, the leather frame, and to allow for the movement of the leather lever. The ocean piece of glass rests in a cutout in the back of the frame and is held in place by four metal glazing points. A black circle and two yellow semi-circles are painted on the backside of this glass piece.

History of Object: Lanternslide painted by Samuel James Reader of Indianola, Kansas, and given to the donor by daughter Elizabeth Reader. Samuel Reader moved to Kansas in 1855 when he was 19 years old and lived in Indianola, a town north of Topeka, until his death in 1914. Primarily a farmer, he also was a Civil War soldier, artist, trustee for the township and Rochester Cemetery, and built two of his own houses. Reader kept a diary with nearly daily entries from age 13 until July 22, 1913. This diary makes up fifteen volumes. According to diary entries, Reader began making lanternslides on January 12, 1866. He created his first magic lantern out of a nail keg with a spyglass, but the image was very blurry. After a few months he tried to convince his aunt Eliza of the need to purchase a proper magic lantern, arguing that he saved money by not purchasing alcohol or tobacco. On June 30th, 1866, Reader received by mail order a magic lantern tube and chromotrope (the latter gave the appearance of a kaleidoscope when a lever was moved up and down.) Reader continued to purchase new and improved magic lantern equipment for many years. According to a letter from his daughter, Elizabeth Reader (dated December 1, 1942), their house was crowded with neighbors watching lanternslide shows on winter evenings. She noted that her father also held shows at country schoolhouses and churches to raise money for the community. He used a pocketknife and saw to make the slides. Reader noted in his diary that he laid out the slides on the roof for the paint to dry. Reader made this lanternslide on December 23rd, 1866, recording in his diary, ?I made two leather circular frames and put glass in them. I cracked one. (And I utilized the crack for a ships mast.)?

Date: 1866

Dimensions (in cm): 9.70 (H) 18.80 (W) 1.10 (D)

Index Terms

Associations and Subjects

    Theme/topic: Sailing ships
    Origin, Place of: Shawnee County (Kan.)
    Origin, Place of: Topeka (Kan.)
    Individual: Reader, Samuel James, 1836-1914
    Theme/topic: Boats and boating
    Origin, Place of: Indianola (Kan.)

Creators and Contributors

    Reader, Samuel J.

Status: Cataloged

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