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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Recent News: Stereoview Photographs
Source: Google News
WATCH: Is this a UFO over Willingboro? | Paranormal CornerNJ.com, November 23rd
Since that time, and even earlier — there is an antique "stereoview" photo of a cigar-shaped object flying over Mt. Washington, New Hampshire that was taken in 1870 — amateur and even professional photographers all over the world have captured what ...Read more
An Introduction to Collecting Vintage PhotographsPetaPixel (blog), November 19th
In 2011, a modern-day treasure hunter was browsing through an antique shop in Fresno, California. Flipping through boxes, he came across an old photograph. An unsmiling group of men, 19th century Americans it seemed, were playing croquet in front of a ...Read more
Community Briefs: 11-18-15Sentinel-Tribune, November 18th
WATERVILLE - "History of Stereography" will be presented Wednesday at Wakeman Hall by Bill Albert, a member of the National Stereoscopic Association. Albert is also a member of the Waterville Historical Society Board of Directors...Read more
Botany, Incunabula, Engravings at National Book AuctionsFine Books & Collections Magazine, November 17th
Antique ephemera lots incorporate stereoviews, postcards, railroad-related, magazines, travel-related, original correspondence, photographs, billheads, stamps, and other genres. Select pieces of vintage and antique furniture will also be offered...Read more
From Pyramids to Ostriches, Stereoscopic Views of Late-19th-Century EgyptHyperallergic, November 9th
A number of stereoviews also show Egypt's famous architecture, usually captured in pristine form, in moments of unglamorous ruin: in one, a man leans against the monumental tip of a broken obelisk at Karnak that balances on a pile of rocks; another is...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
Dawn Journal: A Bounty of DataThe Planetary Society (blog), October 30th
With the different perspectives in each mapping cycle, that location has been photographed from several different angles, providing stereo views. Scientists will use these pictures to make the landscape pop into its full three dimensionality. Dawn's...Read more
'Underwood & Underwood Egypt Stereoviews' showcases a new face of EgyptDaily News Egypt, October 27th
In a time long before digital cameras and smart phones, the simple notion of a coloured image was a far-fetched dream. Egypt has always been on top of the world's touristic areas; hence, it has always been captured by an endless number of visitors...Read more