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Search for slide sets

Most commercially produced slides were sold in sets, often related to a published story, lecture, poem or song.

To find a slide set, enter as many search terms as you want in the form below and click one of the ‘Search’ button. The more criteria you add, the narrower you make the search.

The Lucerna database is a work-in-progress, and many items are not yet recorded. If you know of something that should be in the database and isn’t, please contact us with the details.

Hints for successful searching

  • Unless you’re sure of what you’re looking for, it may be better to start with a general search and then add more criteria to reduce the number of results ...
  • ... but if you make your search too general, it may take a long time to display the results.
  • If searching by title, the search will (only) return results containing exactly the characters you enter, including spaces and punctuation marks.
  • A ‘date’ search may be less successful as many dates of manufacture are unknown.
  • A ‘subject’ search may not find all sets relating to your chosen subject, as not all slide sets have yet been indexed.
  • If your search returns no results, check your search criteria – you may have mis-typed something or chosen an impossible combination.
  • For information about how to use the criteria click the adjacent  Example of button offering online help  button.
Enter your search criteria below and click one of the ‘Search’ buttons
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Search by set title

This criterion will find all slide sets whose title and/or subtitle contains a given word or phrase.

Type the text you want to find into the box. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box empty.

This search is most useful when you already know the title of the set you are looking for.

It can also be used to find sets relating to a given subject, but not all sets on a subject have that information in the title. For example, a search for ‘America’ would not find sets about the USA whose title only contains ‘United States’.

Notes:

  • The search will find exactly the group of characters you enter, including any spaces or punctuation marks.
  • Try to think of a distinctive word or phrase from the title, but be prepared for unexpected results. For example, if you want to find sets with Thames in the title, a search for ‘tham’ will find them – but it will also find Southampton, Chetham and so on.
  • Keep your search text as short as you can – as you enter more, your search becomes more specific and you are less likely to find results.
  • Avoid starting with words like ‘the’, ‘a’ etc. – for example ‘The three bears’ would find the set The three bears but not Three bears.
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Search by country of origin

This criterion will find all slide sets recorded as having been produced in a specific country.

Choose an item from the drop-down list. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box showing ‘any country’.

In many cases, this information is not known for certain or has not been recorded, so this search will not necessarily find a complete record of everything from that country.

Notes:

  • The drop-down list only shows those countries already known to have produced slide sets.
  • In most cases, countries are listed with their modern names and territories, which may or may not have applied at the time of slide set manufacture – for example ‘Germany’ rather than ‘Prussia’ or ‘Bavaria’.
  • The countries of the British Isles are recorded individually (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales) not as ‘U.K.’, and other semi-independent parts of the United Kingdom (e.g. Channel Islands) are treated as separate countries.
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Search by manufacturer

This criterion will find all slide sets recorded as having been made by a specific organisation.

Choose an item from the drop-down list. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box showing ‘any manufacturer’.

In many cases, this information is not known for certain or has not been recorded, so this search will not necessarily find a complete record of everything made by a selected organisation.

Many manufacturers did not directly identify their slide sets, and in many cases organisations which later sold or hired the sets labelled them as though they were their own production. You might also want to search by the next criterion, Sold or hired by.

Notes:

As well as the names of all known slide set manufacturers, the drop-down list includes three non-specific options:

  • manufacturer unknown – sets for which no manufacturer has yet been identified.
  • privately made – sets made non-commercially by an individual, who may or may not be identified. Examples could include a set of photos taken by an individual lecturer for his/her own use, or a set of family or holiday images.
  • privately assembled – the set as displayed in Lucerna appears to be a compilation of items from different sources, put together by an individual who may or may not be identified. In some of these cases the slides in the set may also appear in other Lucerna records.
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Search by stockist

This criterion will find all slide sets recorded as having been sold or offered for hire by a specific organisation.

Choose an item from the drop-down list. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box showing ‘any stockist’.

In many cases, this information is not known for certain or has not been recorded, so this search will not necessarily find a complete record of everything sold or hired by a selected organisation.

Most organisations which sold or hired slide sets did not actually make them, though they may have labelled them with their own name. You might also want to search by the previous criterion, Manufactured by.

Notes:

  • The drop-down list only shows those organisations known to have dealt in slide sets, not the full range of organisations recorded in Lucerna.
  • Organisation names are recorded as found on the slide sets or in other sources, and don’t take account of minor variations (like the addition of ‘Ltd.’ to a company name) unless they are particularly significant to the organisation’s slide business.
  • Many organisations evolved over time and some changed their names; it’s possible that what is essentially the same organisation may appear in the list under different names (e.g. J.W. Butcher and the Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School Union).
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Search by people related to the set

This criterion will find all slide sets recorded as being connected to a specific person.

Choose an item from the drop-down list. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box showing ‘any person’.

This criterion is based on identifiable people connected with the production of the set, not people featured as subjects of the set. To find sets ‘about’ a specific person, search for Subjects of set below.

Connections to production of a set may be:

  • artist – creator of the actual images (except photos) on the slides, e.g. hand-painted images;
  • compiler – the person who selected the slides or assembled them into a set;
  • creator of source image – creator of the images (except photos) from which the slides were reproduced;
  • model – a person who appears in the slide images representing someone other than him/herself;
  • photographer – creator of the photos from which the slides were reproduced.

Notes:

  • The drop-down list only shows those people already known to be connected to production of slide sets.
  • In most cases the names of people with these connections to a given slide set are simply unknown and will never be identified.
  • In some cases the only record of a person’s connection to a slide set is from a minor reference in a source like a manufacturer’s catalogue, and more details of their involvement may not yet be available.
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Search by main usage of set

This criterion will find slide sets that were used (or most likely to be used) for selected purpose.

Choose an item from the drop-down list. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box showing ‘any usage’.

It can be difficult to make a definite judgement on what a slide set was used for, and the information here is meant only to give a rough idea of the most likely usage of a set, as described by the categories available in the list. In practice, sets could easily be used by performers in ways different from those imagined by their manufacturers.

The available categories are:

  • advertising – commercial promotion of a specific product.
  • announcement – text announcements such as Welcome, Good Night, etc. (also known as ‘motto’ slides).
  • comic – jokes and visual comic effects, without a narrative structure.
  • effect – transformations, movement, dissolves and other visual effects, without a narrative structure.
  • lecture – factual presentation with a broadly educational purpose.
  • miscellaneous – usages not covered by other items in this list.
  • news – factual presentation of contemporary events.
  • Phantasmagoria – horror and sensational effects, without a narrative structure. 
  • portrait – pictures of recognisable or identified people.
  • recitation – verse and poetry, without music.
  • religious – all religious usages not covered by other items in this list.
  • service of song – fictional narrative with hymns, for use as a religious service.
  • song – musical items of all types, including hymns.
  • story – fictional narratives, of all types.
  • toy – non-narrative uses mainly intended for children.
  • unknown – usage not yet identified.
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Search by main type of image

This criterion will find slide sets with a selected image type as their main (or most likely) content.

Choose an item from the drop-down list. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box showing ‘any type of image’.

In many cases a slide set may contain more than one type of image. This information is meant only to give a rough idea of the most prominent type found, as described by the categories available in the list.

Where no slide images have yet been found for a set, the type of image may have been allocated by a researcher as the most likely type of image, based on information from catalogues or similar sources.

The available categories are:

  • drawing/painting/print – images show non-photographic artwork (even though the slide itself may consist of a photo of that artwork).
  • Life Model – photographs featuring posed models illustrating a story etc.
  • other – another type of image not defined in this list.
  • photograph – images show photographs of objects, scenes and/or people.
  • physical object – in a few rare cases slides were made by mounting an object (e.g. an insect wing) between glass sheets.
  • text – images mainly showing words or other text.
  • unknown – image type not yet identified.
  • various – the set has several types of image, none more prominent than the others.
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Search by date of first manufacture

This criterion will find all slide sets recorded as having been first produced in a specific year (or range of years).

Choose one or more years from the drop-down lists as appropriate. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the boxes showing ‘any date’.

In many cases, this information is not known for certain or has not been recorded.

This search can be useful for getting a representative sample of sets from a given period, but the results should not be taken as a complete record of everything from the year(s) you enter.

Notes:

  • You can search either for sets made in a specific year (plus or minus a range of years), or for sets made between a pair of chosen years.
  • If you choose the second (‘between’) option, it will over-ride any selections you made for the first (‘in’) option.
  • The years in the ‘in’ drop-down list are just those for which sets have been recorded, not a complete list of all possible years.
  • The dates refer to the first known manufacture of the set – most commercial sets remained in production for many years after their first appearance, so this search does not give an indication of what was available or in circulation at a given date.
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     year(s)
(inclusive)
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Search by series title

This criterion will find all slide sets recorded as part of an identified larger series.

Choose an item from the drop-down list. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box showing ‘any series’.

‘Series’ in this context means a group of sets of individual slides (the sets also being known under their own titles), brought together under a wider title by their manufacturer or dealers.

Series titles may be closely related to the trademarks or trade names of the organisations concerned (e.g. ‘Primus Junior Lecturer’s Series’), but may also have been applied by later researchers as a way of gathering sets that are clearly related to each other.

Notes:

  • The drop-down list only shows those series for which slide sets are already listed in Lucerna, not a complete list of all series that were ever produced.
  • Series names were sometimes duplicated by different manufacturers, especially generic names like ‘Illustrated hymns’. Other names were used by a succession of manufacturers, as businesses merged or were purchased.
  • Slide sets can appear as members of more than one series – for example a manufacturer might use one series name, while a dealer could have grouped the same sets with others under a different name.
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Search by subject of set

This criterion will find all slide sets recorded as being related to a specific subject.

Choose one or more items from the drop-down lists. If you don’t want to apply any or all of these sub-criteria, leave the boxes showing ‘any ...’.

Keyword indexing of slide sets in Lucerna is still at an early stage and in many cases this information has not yet been recorded. This search will therefore not necessarily find a complete record of everything relating to your chosen subject(s).

The keywords are applied to slide sets to indicate that the set is ‘about’ that subject in some sense. This is not necessarily the same as the visual content of the slides in the set – to find slides that show an image of a selected place, person, event or other subject, you need to Search for slides.

Notes:

We plan to make the subject searching more flexible in future, when resources allow, but at present it has some limitations:

  • At present you can only choose one search item for each sub-criterion.
  • If you choose more than one subject sub-criterion, the search will find sets that match any one or more of your choices (a logical ‘or’ search), not all of them together (a logical ‘and’ search).
  • However your subject keyword choices will be applied as an ‘and’ search with any other criteria you have chosen. For example, a search for a person as subject, an event as subject, and a specific manufacturer, will find all sets by the manufacturer that relate to either the person or the event.
  • The drop-down lists only show those items which have already been allocated as subject keywords, not the whole list of items recorded in Lucerna.
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Search for slide sets for which Lucerna has images

This criterion will find all slide sets for which Lucerna has (or doesn’t have) digital images.

Choose an item from the drop-down list. If you don’t want to apply this criterion, leave the box showing ‘show all sets’.

This criterion is most useful for narrowing down the range of slide sets found by a wider search, or if you are particularly interested in finding slide images on a given subject defined by other search criteria.

It will find sets for which any of the slides have images – this may be as few as one slide from a set, or as many as the complete set.

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Sort results in order by...

This option controls how the results of your search will be displayed.

Choose an option from the drop-down list.

By default, the search will show the slide sets it finds in alphabetical order of their titles. If that’s OK, leave the list box showing ‘title (alphabetical)’.

The other options are:

  • date of manufacture – list the sets in ascending order of their date of first manufacture. However relatively few sets are known to have a definite date, so this may be a less useful option.
  • series order (if any) – where sets have been identified as members of a series, list them in order of any serial numbers or other indicators within that series. This is probably only useful if you have also selected a value under the Series title criterion as well.
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