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American Stereographoscope, mid-1870s

In Cameras > Camera Accessories > Show & Tell and Photographs > Stereoview Photographs > Show & Tell.
Vintage Camera Accessories4 of 29Early Photographic Gallery Token – Raymond’s Photograph Gallery. 1863Mascher Stereo Daguerreotype Viewer with Original Image Pair, c.1853
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    Posted 3 years ago

    rniederman
    (307 items)

    Long before radio, television and social media (etc.), an early form of entertainment was looking at photographic images in cases or viewing in devices such as stereoscopes. The original stereoscopic viewers (1840s to early 1850s) were made for daguerreotypes; sensitized silver coated, polished copper plates that produced images on a mirror-like surface. Daguerreotypes slowly gave away to glass plate ambrotypes and by the 1870s, card mounted paper images, including stereoviews, had just about completely overtaken the market. And why not: They were much more durable than daguerreotypes, less expensive, easier to produce, and reproducible.

    In particular, stereoscopic viewing devices underwent major changes and a staggering variety of handheld, desktop stand, and floor versions appeared from the mid-1850s onward. One of the more curious yet popular designs is known as the stereographoscope; an odd type of viewer for both stereoviews and single images.

    The first stereographoscope was described in an 1864 Great Britain patent by Charles Rowsell. The term ‘graphoscope’ was not used at the time but came to refer to viewers with a large magnifying lens to more clearly see pictures and other objects. Stereographoscopes have a large magnifier that is typically above a pair of lenses for stereoviews. England, Europe and the United States were the main producers and, for 30 to 40 years, incredible numbers of viewers were made and sold.

    Given their popularity in parlors, many designs were unbelievably elaborate and constructed with the same great care as fine furniture. Rich veneers, exotic materials, ornate inlays, and fancy open wood fretwork (et al) were not uncommon.

    The mid-1870s American stereographoscope shown here is attributed to James Lee. I like this particular viewer because it is simple and straightforward in design with some sculptural qualities. Different types of wood were used and the majority of the body is made of nicely figured rosewood.

    Cardboard mounted images are held in a sliding carrier for focusing. Stereoviews are placed in a slot at the bottom of the carrier with a small brass marker as a reference point to center the image. Retractable eye shades make viewing better by blocking stray light when looking through the square cut lenses. Single images are set into a slot at the top of the carrier. The overall viewing angle can also be set to three different positions.

    The 1870s stereoview of an eagle and American flag is posted here separately on Show & Tell. The cabinet card is an excellent portrait of Eunice White Beecher, wife of minister and abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher, made by the renowned Brooklyn photographer Frank Pearsall.

    Comments

    1. fortapache fortapache, 3 years ago
      It would have been a great conversation piece then and now. As you mentioned in the past there would be various items sitting about to generate conversation.
    2. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Hi Thomas ... you might be thinking of a large Camera Obscura viewing room. You could go inside and look at an outdoor image (live) projected onto a wall or table. Here is my S&T link of a PUCK magazine parody about a camera obscura room at a beach: http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/102540-1890-chromolithograph-titled-at-the-bea
    3. scottvez scottvez, 3 years ago
      Very nice example!

      I like the eye shades.

      scott
    4. SEAN68 SEAN68, 3 years ago
      OMG!!!!! STUNNING EXAMPLE!!! AND THE PHOTOS ARE GREAT!!
    5. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks!
      vetraio50
      ho2cultcha
      racer4four
    6. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Hi Thomas ... that's the basic concepr but camera obscura are much older.
    7. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks!
      Phil
      inky
      Efesgirl
      fortapache
    8. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks!
      David
      John
      Thomas
    9. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks!
      Sean
      kyratango
      BB2
    10. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks!
      pw-collector
      bobby725
      Scott
      Michael
      aura
    11. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks!
      Rick55
      kerry10456
      Oroyoroyisthatyourhorse
      pops52
      NevadaBlades
    12. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks!
      Chevelleman69
      trukn20
      sanhardin
      Longings
    13. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks!
      Beachbum58
      Designer
      chrissylovescats
      farmlady
    14. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks!
      j_daze
      OneGoodFind
      crswerner
      Neighborguysfan
      PoirePoire
    15. PostCardCollector PostCardCollector, 3 years ago
      Amazing, Must be so---so---rare and valuable!!
    16. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks!
      iggy
      Perry
      egreeley1976
    17. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks!
      PostCardCollector
      sugargirl
    18. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks, AntigueToys!
    19. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks, Caperkid!
    20. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks!
      mtg75
      bijoucaillouvintage
    21. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Thanks, vintagegirl66!
    22. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
      Thanks, sugargirl!
    23. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
      Thanks, GeodeJem!
    24. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
      Thanks, Thomas ... good to see you back!
    25. Brunswick Brunswick, 2 years ago
      Anytime...Later in the week I will post an item that has puzzled Me for some time. I've Posted it in the past...It is Film related...Copywrite 1928...Almost 40,000Ft. Of Film in their own containers..not reels...when You see this item, I would appreciate any input your way...
      T.
    26. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
      Thanks Zippo!
    27. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
      Thanks, Johnsmith!
    28. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
      Thanks!
      kyratango
      clockerman
    29. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
      Thanks, dlpetersen!
    30. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
      Thanks, Johnsmith!
    31. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
      Thanks, Collectables59!
    32. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
      Thanks again, Thomas!
    33. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
      Thanks!
      ho2cultcha
      Radegunder
    34. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
      Thanks, RonM!

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