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Slide Projectors

The slide projector occupies a place somewhere between photographs and movies: it provides a way of publicly viewing your still images.

Slide Projectors the predominant way in which people would view their still photographs with other people from the 1950s until the 1970s. In fact, it was so common that it was a regular trope of television and film that people would go to someone’s house, only to be forced to watch a hundred slides about the latest family vacation.

Nonetheless, slide projection is more than just an outdated event. Many people still have slide collections and wish to view these old images with family and friends. While slide production is increasingly rare, slide viewing still persists as the transfer of slides to digital images is more expensive than simply purchasing a slide projector. Even schools still use slides for teaching, as it is often less expensive to purchase a slide projector than a digital one.

As a result, slide projectors are still in production and are relatively readily available. In fact, the technology has improved, using cooler lamps that help preserve the quality of the slides to avoid melting.

Vintage Slide Projectors

Slide projectors started appearing in the 1950s, and were used to project the new “slide” technology, which was basically film technology, but made in single frames.

The earliest projectors were only dual slide projectors. In a dual slide projector, you could only insert two slides at a time. One slide would be put in each side of the slide holder. You would then look at one slide, while replacing the second slide. This could be done over and over again to create a “slide show”.

Needless to say, people found this sort of process very annoying, so later slide projectors became what are called “carousel” slide projectors. Carousel slide projectors would hold a number of slides in a “carousel”, which would then be inserted, one by one, in front of the projection lamps. Carousel projectors almost completely replaced the dual slide projectors, simply due to their convenience.

Vintage slide projectors always used an incandescent lamp, which made them very hot. As a result, they required fans and could potentially damage slides if left inside too long. The trickiest part of using a vintage slide projector is finding replacement lamps, since the lamps burn out but are no longer in production.

Modern Slide Projectors

Because so many slides are still around and because the process of transferring them is so expensive, there are still a number of companies that produce slide projectors. Because of technological development, these newer slide projectors have a number of features that were not available in previous generations of slide projection:

  • Electronic Control: While slide projectors are still fairly basic in their controls, computer technology allows more options in choosing slides. Rather than simply click two buttons to go forward or backward, you can go forward multiple slides, automate your slide rates and so forth.
  • Better Control Mechanisms: Older slide projectors (especially carousel projectors) relied on rather basic mechanisms for moving between slides, which led them to often get stuck, as much as once per carousel. Newer slide projectors use finer motors to make easier transitions. In addition, modern slide projectors allow you to insert multiple slides without using a carousel.
  • LED Lamps: In recent years, there has been a movement toward using LED lamps instead of traditional incandescent lamps. Aside from being more energy-efficient, these lamps have the advantage of being cool. This removes the need for the fan, which cuts down on the bulk of the projectors, providing more space for slides or simply cutting down the size.
  • Remote Control: Remember how there was always some poor person sitting beside the slide projector clicking a button? The advent of remote control removes the need for this entirely, allowing you to switch slides from the comfort of your chair.

Kodak is currently the leader in slide projectors, and have been producing them since the 1950s. Modern projectors will generally not be available in every local store, but they can be purchased on common sites like Amazon for a reasonable price.


If you are interested in watching old slides, there is no need to transfer them electronically. A wide range of slide projectors are available, from vintage projectors to modern ones.

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