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Turner and Lee three-colour projector


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About this observation
Alex Pratt
Time of observation
03/05/2017 - 11:00
Turner and Lee three-colour projector
Observing location
Science and Media Museum, Bradford
Canon EOS 500D
24mm f/2.8
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Three-colour composites are not the exclusive preserve of 21st century astrophotographers.

As a practical application of James Clerk Maxwell's work on R, G, B primary colours, in 1899 Edward Turner (financed by F Marshall Lee) constructed a cine camera that recorded a sequence of frames onto monochrome film taken through red, green and blue filters. After the film had been developed it was loaded into the accompanying projector which used an ingenious mechanical system to project each triplet of frames through the corresponding red, green and blue filters, resulting in a 'true colour' cine film being shown on the screen at a rate of 16 fps.

The three-colour projector can be seen at the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford

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