What is the best way to store "magic lantern" glass negatives?
Q. Dear Donia,
I have a large collection of "magic lantern" glass negatives. What are the best practices for storing the glass negatives? They are all in good condition and I would like to keep them this way! Thanks, Jennifer
A. Dear Jennifer,
I love magic lantern slides—what a fun collection to have!
Lantern slides are a glass plate positive with a second thin plate of glass facing the emulsion side and held together with paper or cloth tape. When this tape is in good condition, the slides will be very stable as the emulsion is protected from dust and high humidity, both of which can be damaging. The two biggest risks to these slides is water damage resulting in damage to that emulsion (image) layer and breakage.
Since all your your slides are in good condition, proper storage will be important to keep them that way. Lantern slides are best stored in four-flap wrappers (to prevent scratching the glass) and vertically in boxes such as these from our sponsor Hollinger Metal Edge. You will want to store the slides vertically rather than horizontally because glass is heavy and old glass is very brittle and the bottom slide could crack under the weight of it fellow slides in the pile. If your slides don't take up the entire box (room for more collecting!), put in some sort of spacer or padding so that the slides don't, well, slide down. Label the box as having glass so you don't accidentally drop it or otherwise do damage. Store somewhere that the temperature and relative humidity are stable and where there are no overhead pipes—no attics or basements, please.
Thanks for the question!