Antique and Vintage Stereoview Photographs
The idea for stereoview photographs (also known as stereoscopic photographs, stereographs, or, simply, views) was hatched long before their invention, and even well prior to the first photographs. In the early 17th century, three separate men, Giovanni Battista della Porta, Jacopo Chimenti da Empoli, and Francois d’Aguillion, made drawings, or allusions to, what would eventually become the stereoscope or stereo viewer.
What these men envisioned essentially became a reality when the stereoscope was finally introduced in the early 19th century. Stereoscopes use two nearly-identical images, each taken a few inches to the side of the other. When viewed through two lenses set 2.5 inches apart, approximately the space between the eyes, the result is the illusion of a three-dimensional picture. In fact, stereoscopes are seen as the precursors to 3D entertainment. Much of the three-dimensional technology of today is based on the simple principles that allow the stereoscope to function.
Sir David Brewster often gets the credit for inventing stereoscopes, but he first designed the box-shaped viewer. The first stereoscope was actually introduced in 1833 by Sir Charles Wheatstone in Great Britain. At that time, photographs did not exist, so drawings were used instead. By the 1850s, photography was possible so stereoscopes began featuring this new technology.
Because the stereoscope preceded the publication of photographs in newspapers and magazines, stereo viewers were seen as forms of entertainment. People would pass around the stereoscope and see all sorts of beautiful scenes that they otherwise might never have been introduced to.
In 1859 Oliver Wendell Holmes (yes, that Oliver Wendell Holmes) invented a handheld stereograph viewer which was later manufactured by Joseph L. Bates in Massachusetts. These antique stereographs are highly sought-after today.
Before stereoviews caught on in the United States, however, they were popular in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. Roger Fenton was an early stereoview photographer, as was Jules Duboscq, who made daguerreotype stereographs popular. At the same time tintype and albumen photographs were being used in stereoscopes.
In fact, the vintage photographs that were placed inside stereoscopes are even more collectible than the devices themselves. The list of themes for these pictures is limitless, a...
One of the most popular genres was railroad photos. Rail transportation was developing alongside photographic innovation, so many people that never rode the rails could at least see them through a stereoscope. One of the leading railroad and Western stereoview photographers was Carleton Watkins. Other views included mines, landscapes, automobiles, and, of course, nudes. In the United States, stereoviews allowed people living on the East Coast to see the West Coast, and vice versa.
By the latter half of the 19th century, many towns had their own resident stereoview photographer, which means there were plenty of local subjects available for people with stereoscopes to go with the images of far-off lands. Several companies emerged as publishers and distributors of stereoviews on every imaginable subject, the biggest and most successful in the United States being the Keystone View Company of Meadville, Pennsylvania.
The most prolific maker of views, however, was probably the London Stereoscope Company, founded in the early 1850s. It produced hundreds of thousands of views, as well as some portraits. Its peak was the 1850s, which was the height of the stereoscope craze in the United Kingdom. The company remained strong through the next few decades before fizzling in the 1920s. It has since reopened, with its new owners making an attempt to reintroduce the popularity of stereoscopes into today’s digital world.
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Crowds Turn Out For Photographica ShowAntiques and the Arts Online, April 20th
Buyers could choose from cameras, daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, stereoviews, lenses, photographic literature, accessories, albums of albumen prints and some unusual items. Offerings included vintage equipment, plus much that could be used by ...Read more
The Johnson-Shaw Stereographic Museum is open Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm at ...Meadville Tribune, April 19th
Radio and television Stereoview display is at Johnson-Shaw museum. Meadville Tribune; Apr 19, 2016. Johnson-Shaw Stereographic Museum. Contributed photo. The Johnson-Shaw Stereographic Museum is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 423 ...Read more
Facebook invents awesome Surround 360 VR camera, gives the design awayExtremeTech, April 18th
Overlapping fields of view make it possible to generate synthetic stereo views with post-processing One reason that binocular vision and head movement are such powerful tools for humans and other animals to determine depth is that objects at different ...Read more
Fire up your GPU: VR takes hold at Nvidia's GTC 2016ExtremeTech, April 8th
Creating stereo views is also relatively simple — basic stereo camera support can be added in game engines such as Unity merely by checking a box. Now, though, we're starting to see full-fidelity experiences based on modeling real-world locations...Read more
Warner Free Lecture Preview: Stereophotography ... 3D travels through a ...Harvard Press, April 7th
Photoarchive3D is a digital archive of original historic photographic stereoviews created by George L. Mutter and Bernard P. Fishman. With exclusive access to a unique collection of 30,000 original images of broad topical and geographic coverage from...Read more
New Horizons Snaps Amazing 3-D View of Pluto's Mysterious 'Bladed' TerrainUniverse Today, April 4th
The amazing stereo view of a broad area informally named Tartarus Dorsa combines two images from the Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) taken about 14 minutes apart on July 14, 2015. The first was taken when New Horizons was 16,000 ...Read more
A day in the life: 'Stereoview' image captures lower Pierre Street on July 23 ...The Capital Journal, November 4th
“This stereoview was once part of someone's family entertainment and was viewed through a hand-held device called a Stereoscope. Most stereoview were aimed at tourists. This is probably why this particular view came from California,” McQuay said in a ...Read more
'Underwood & Underwood Egypt Stereoviews' showcases a new face of EgyptDaily News Egypt, October 27th
Egypt Stereoviews Underwood & Underwood exhibition is taking place on the AUC campus and welcomes both students as well as the general audience. Even though the collection was always available to aid any student; it has never been exhibited before...Read more