Saturday, May 12, 2012

This Week in Texas Methodist History May 13

Methodists Use Visual Aids May 13, 1912

As Methodists gather for worship and Sunday School in 2012, they often employ all sorts of visual enhancements.  Large scale projection screens, Powerpoint presentations, DVD’s, video clips, and other technologies are so common that they no longer evoke comment.

The use of visual technologies to enhance worship and study is nothing new.  In the mid-19th century large painted canvas scrolls depicting Biblical scenes were unrolled before audiences.  One hundred years ago a popular technology was the stereopticon.  Here is a typical church news column from May 13, 1912.

Tuesday night a stereopticon lecture will be given for the Sunday School by the Rev. W. Huggett at the Highland Park Methodist Church.

At the weekly service at Fort Bliss Sunday night lantern slides of scenes of the Boy Scouts were exhibited.

The Rev. W. S. Huggett will deliver the popular lecture, “The Other Wise Man,”in the Trinity Methodist Church tonight for the benefit of the Traveler’s Aid Society.   The lecture will be illustrated with stereopticon slides.

El Paso Herald, May 13, 1912

The stereopticon was a forerunner of the slide projector.  Images were painted on glass panels.  A light source behind the glass projected the image onto a screen.  A typical stereopticon had two lenses so that a dissolve feature could be used.  The most popular programs included Biblical scenes, Holy Land travelogues, great masters reproductions, and missionary activities.

Stereopticons had existed since the 1850s, and by 1912 they were rapidly being replaced by moving pictures.  The attached slide is from the personal collection of Mrs. Bonnie Sandberg. 


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