Harvesting on Campus
Image from a lantern slide, circa 1900
Harvesting with a grain cradle is underway on the west side of the Iowa State College campus. The newly constructed Engineering Hall is visible at left. This view faces southeast from where the Design Center would be located today.
This scan of the entire lantern slide shows the label text, Old-fashioned Method of Cutting Grain with the Cradle. The cradle consisted of a broad scythe with a light frame of four wood fingers attached. The advantage of the cradle was that by a turn to the left the operator could throw the grain into a swath, ready to be raked and bound into sheaves. The cradle was an efficient means of cutting grain before McCormick's invention of the reaper, but was already considered old fashioned by the time of this lantern slide. You may view this and additional lantern slides at Ames Historical Society headquarters.
Lantern slides, or hyalotypes, were the primary form of projecting still images from the second half of the 19th century through the first half of the 20th century. These slides are not to be confused with the earlier magic lantern slides popular in the mid-17th century in Europe. Although both types used a projector with flame illumination and a glass slide, magic lantern slides utilized hand-painted images on wide glass slides (up to 7 inches) with the purpose of manipulating them through the projector to create a sense of movement for entertainment purposes.
By contrast, the smaller 3 ¼ x 4 inch turn-of-the-century modern lantern slides were used to project still images, initially for entertainment, but chiefly for educational purposes. Slides consisted of a transparent positive photographic image on glass that was matted and taped to a clear glass cover to seal the enclosure. Occasionally, the photo image could be hand colored with special tints. Before 1890, illumination was achieved with an oil lamp or lime light (oxygen and hydrogen pellet). After 1890, the carbon arc lamp or electric light bulb was used in the projection system. Lantern slides remained popular until the introduction in the 1950s of the 2 x 2 inch transparency slide made from 35mm film. Many academic visual collections still retain and use lantern slides for instruction, especially in the history of art, architecture and allied arts. Significant collections are now being converted to digital formats.
(postcard image courtesy of Margaret Elbert)
This 1907 view, facing east from near Sheldon Avenue, also shows crops raised on the ISC campus.
Here is a better view of the buildings barely visible in the featured lantern slide image.
Another 1898 view of west campus shows, from left, Chemical and Physical Laboratory (old chemistry building that burned in 1913), Laboratory of Mechanics (still survives), Power Station, Foundry, and Carpenter Shop The road in the distance is Sheldon. The photographer took this cyanotype photo from the top of Old Main, replaced in 1904 by Central Hall (Beardshear).