Here at the archives at Ardfoyle, a wonderful discovery was made when a collection of boxes and cases that were tucked away in the corner were taken out and moved to our most recent shelving unit. These boxes which had laid on the floor for a number of years were opened, and inside were hundreds and hundreds of photographic ‘reversal film’ or ‘slide film’ slides dated from the 1950’s through to the 2000’s, kept in everything from special metal cases to shoeboxes. Roughly four centimetres by four centimetres, they were created and designed for the purpose of allowing photographic images to be viewed by large audiences through the use of a slide projector.

Aldis 500 Star Projector with its carrying case and a box of photographic slides

But how can we see what is on these slides? Thankfully, shortly after discovering the boxes of slides, a slide projector was also discovered in a carrying case nearby (along with even more slides!). This slide projector, the Aldis Star 500, was manufactured in the mid 1950’s and despite being nearly seventy years old, still works perfectly to this day. These types of projectors work by using an electric incandescent light bulb to pass light through a reflector and condensing lens. This lens directs the light through the transparent reversal film which sits behind another lens used to adjust and sharpen the projected image. The result? Even after nearly thirty years following the introduction of the digital camera which made photographic slides obsolete, we at the archive still have to technology and ability to view these treasures the way they were meant to be viewed. And someday, when the time can be made to catalogue these slides, these little gems can be shared with the world and be yet another way the story of the OLA is told.