Before We Had Television...

By Lisa

October 28th, 2010

This optical device, unearthed by one of our visitors, Cinegraphica, and posted on our Show & Tell page, is typical of the sort of toy you’d find on a Victorian parlor table, right next to the Bible.

What’s unique about this particular device is that it can convert from a graphoscope to a stereoscope. Graphoscope, really, is nothing more than a glorified magnifying glass, which allowed users to look at photographs, drawings, and text up close.

But a stereoscope, also called a stereoview, was something special. Using two similar images placed side-by-side, the dual lenses created the illusion of 3D imagery—quite a thrill in the days before IMAX theaters. Just ask Brian May of Queen.

Cinegraphica, is a Belgian collector of pre-1920s film projectors and cameras. You can read his blog here.

Leave a Comment or Ask a Question

If you want to identify an item, try posting it in our Show & Tell gallery.