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Standard glass slide: 3¼ inches (83mm) by 4 inches (100mm)

Sample image of this type of slide – slide shown is slide 31 of Das Wunder Aziens: Teil I (lecture: Franz Stoedtner, 40 slides, in/after 1895)

Standard glass slide
EYE Film Institute Netherlands – reproduced by permission. Digital image © 2016 Sarah Dellmann – CC0 (no copyright).
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 the glasses are rectangular, 3¼ inches (83mm) high by 4 inches (100mm) wide. 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 size adopted for mass-produced photographic and transfer slides in the United States and a few other countries.

Lucerna ID  5000287

Record created by Richard Crangle. Last updated 7 October 2019

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  Lucerna Magic Lantern Web Resource,, item 5000287. Accessed 25 May 2024.

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