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Carlo Ponti Megalethoscope Slides

Megalethoscope slides are albumen prints that have been incised, pricked with pins, and back-painted. When lit from the front, the image appears as a typical albumen print, but when lit from behind the image looks colored and illuminated. These photographs were made for a megalethoscope, also called a day-and-night viewer due to the effect of the images. Megalethoscopes were a source of parlor entertainment, as its operator would shift the lighting source through opening and closing a series of chambers on the device. Carlo Ponti, an Italian photographer, invented the megalethoscope, and is believed to be the creator of these photographs. The CMP has a collection of over 150 megalethoscope slides and one megalethoscope viewer. It is believed to be the largest collection of megalethoscope photographs in North America.
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