mom says screens are bad for your eyes

an evening in 1876 – from a book at the Toronto Public Library

Toronto. This copy of the frontispiece of an 1876 book at the TPL titled, “Shadows on the Screen; or, An Evening With The Children” reminds us that “screens” have been around for well over a century now.

As a kid and an enthusiastic reader, my mom told me books would, “ruin my eyes“. When we got TV in the 1950s my mom said, “don’t sit so close. You’ll ruin your eyes“. I wonder what she would say of computers and smartphones – especially smartphones – today?

As we know in photography, projectors have been around since well before 1839. The first use of the painfully slow/insensitive dry glass plate emulsion was to create magic lantern slides, often religious in nature. Slides became a means to project colour photographs last century – from Autochromes to Kodachromes, Ektachromes, and Anscochromes. Movies in black and white and later in sound and colour became a special treat, replaced by the convenience of television. Tommy, can you see me?

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