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Standard glass slide: 3¼ inches (83mm) square

Sample image of this type of slide – slide shown is slide 10 of Adventures of Mr Snapshot (recitation: York & Son, 13 slides, 1893)

Standard glass slide
Philip and Rosemary Banham Collection – reproduced by permission. Digital image © 2015 Philip and Rosemary Banham.
Technical description

Most surviving lantern slides are in one of the standard glass formats, which were used from around the 1870s until the 35mm slide format became popular from the middle of the 20th century.

The subject (usually a photograph or transfer, but sometimes hand-painted or drawn directly onto the glass) is produced on the inner surface of an 'image glass' sheet and protected by a 'cover glass' of the same size.

A paper 'mount' (also known as a 'mat' or 'mask') is usually inserted between the two glasses to frame the image, and the edges are sealed with a 'binding strip' of gummed paper or fabric. A few later designs (early to mid C20th) use a thin metal channel or strip as the edge binding.


In this sub-type both glasses are square, 3¼ inches (83mm) in each dimension. The thickness can vary between about 3mm and 1.5mm – in general thinner slides are probably later than thicker ones, as glass manufacture developed over the decades.


This was the standard British size for glass slides in the second half of the 19th century and first half of the 20th, also adopted in several other European countries.

Lucerna ID  5000286

Record created by Richard Crangle. Last updated 7 February 2020

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  Lucerna Magic Lantern Web Resource,, item 5000286. Accessed 25 May 2024.

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