a colourful view

Argus colour slide projector ad in the April 16, 1956 issue of LIFE

Toronto. In the 1950s, the best colour shots were colour slides. Realistic colours, very high resolution, and visible to a whole room full of people. Of course everyone had to sit in the dark as each slide was projected on a special screen or an old bed sheet. The penalty for viewing these colourful images was listening to the host drone on about each slide.

The slides took special gear in the form of a projector and screen. Each manufacture  claimed their brand was the best of all. By the mid 1950s everyone used a tray to hold the slides and project them in sequence. Of course the trays could also be storage for the delicate images. Bright light bulbs ran very hot at 300 or 500 watts and could cause the slides to burn if held too long in view. A special heat filter and a tiny fan helped keep the condensers and slides reasonably cool.

A lower wattage bulb ran cooler but offered dimmer illumination. Colour prints at the time were expensive and rather poor resolution. The above advertisement in the April 16, 1956 issue of LIFE magazine shows minor changes to the Argus projectors from earlier versions. Of course today slides, film, projectors, Argus, and LIFE have all disappeared into the mists of time.  Thanks to member George Dunbar for this suggested look back in history to the days when colour slides were the peak of photographic viewing, especially for arm chair travellers.


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