Stereoscopy – Stereoscopes

As photography developed as a commercial medium during the 1840s, it was realised that it was perfect for producing stereoscopic images and daguerreotypes were produced to be viewed using Wheatstone’s apparatus.  This was achieved initially by taking one photograph, then moving the camera a few inches and taking a second.  In early stereo views, sometimes the movement of people between the exposure of the left and right images is obvious. Soon, special stereoscopic cameras were developed to take the left and right images simultaneously, with two lenses separated by around the same distance as human eyes.

In late 1840s, David Brewster greatly improved the viewer by using lenses instead of mirrors and this allowed a compact, portable device to be produced.  Queen Victoria was amused by his viewer at the Great Exhibition 1851 and helped spawn a craze.  Brewster claimed that by 1856 over 500,000 viewers had been sold.

In the 1850s and 1860s, it can be argued that it was stereoscopic views, along with cartes-de-visite that popularised photography and spurred its growth and development.  The London Stereoscopic Company was probably the largest manufacturer of photographs in the world during the 1860s, with its slogan ‘a stereoscope in every home’.  By the end of the 1860s, this must have been virtually true for the middle class homes of Britain.

Although its popularity ebbed, there was a second growth phase in the 1890s, with Underwood and Underwood becoming a huge publisher of images.  They were eventually taken over by Keystone, who continued producing stereo views into the 1930s.

In addition to the classic stereo view card (approx. 170mm x 80mm), several other smaller side-by-side formats emerged (particularly in France).  The Viewmaster disc was probably the best known and is still produced today. (internet-no source name available)

The stereoscopic viewing cards posted here are from our collection and give you a glimpse into the past.

Travel and Nature

“A mountain torrent’s strength is here.” Yellowstone River at Yellowstone National Park, USA – c 1901

 

Down Yellowstone Canon, from Moran’s Point, showing crags, Yellowstone Park – c 1901

 

“In Wonderland” Watkins Glenn, New York, c 1899

 

The Royal Gorge and headwaters of the Arkansas River, Colorado, USA – c 1900

 

The Grandeur of the Royal Gorge and Canon Arkansas River, Colorado, USA – c 1900

 

Williams Canon, Maniton, Colorado c1904

 

Roger’s Pass from Hermit Mountain, British Columbia, Canada – c 1900

 

The beautiful Falls of the Riviere du Loup, Quebec – c 1902

 

Looking down Oak Creek Canyon Canon, towards Ouray, Colorado – c 1906

 

North Dakota Prairie Chickens in Autumn – c 1906

 

Climbing the steep Zigzags in the trail to the top of Nevada Falls, Yosemite Valley, Cal – c 1906

 

“The antler’s monarch of the waste” The American Moose -c 1905

 

Mirror Lake and Mt. Watkins, Yosemite Valley, Cal. c-1906

 

“The groves were God’s first temple”- Among the venerable Giants of the Mariposa Grove, Cal. c 1906

 

Hook Eye Curve, Breckenbridge, Col c-1904

 

Home in the Rockies, Ouray, Col c-1906

 

Striking cone of the Grotto Geyser, Yellowstone National Park, Cal. c 1900

 

Crater of the Giant Geyser, Yellowstone National Park – c 1900

 

The Gateway and Majestic Pike’s Peak, Col. USA  c 1900

 

Stupendous El Capitan, 3300 ft. above floor of Yosemite Valley, Cal. c 1900

 

Seventh Cascade, Cheyenne Falls, Manitou, Colorado c 1904

 

Moonlight on the Cedar Rapids of the St. Lawrence River c 1900

 

Crater of the Castle Geyser, “Old Faithfull” in distance,  Yellowstone National Park

 

“Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun” -Box Canyon, Ouray, Cal c-1906

 

Rugged Grandeur of Mystic Gorge, Au Sable Chasm, New York c 1906

 

Niagara’s most Enchanting sight – American Falls and Luna Island from Goat Island, Niagara, NY c 1905

 

Majestic Niagara, rolling in ceaseless roar – American Falls from below- USA c1901

 

“The breaking waves dashed high on a stern and rock bound coast” – Niagara Rapids

 

Events

 

Italian Statuary, Palace of Liberal Arts, Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, USAWorld’s Fair in St. Louis c 1904

 

Giant Elephant made of English Walnuts, California’s Exhibit in Horticuitural Building, World’s Fair in St. Louis c 1904

 

Judging Hereford Bulls, greatest of Cattle Shows, World’s Fair, St. Louis USA c1905

 

Places

Randolph Street, Chicago, USA

 

Floral Beauty, Soldier’s Home, Dayton, Ohio, USA c 1892

 

An army miners and prospectors ascending the heights of the Chilcoot Pass c 1898

 

City of Cold Feet, Alaska c 1899

 

The Nation’s Capitol from the South East, Washington, DC c1900

 

East Room, (McKinley’s Administration) Mansion, Washington, DC c1900

 

U.S. Hotel Court, Sartoga, NY

 

Cotton is King- A Louisiana Plantation Scene c1900 (Prize Cotton)

 

A visit to Lallberte’s – the finest fur parlour in the world, Quebec, Canada c1904

 

“Aim Low Boys” Company M, First Illinois Volunteers, Spanish American War c1899

 

A Pretty Avenue in Elitcha Garden, a popular pleasure resort,  Denver, Colorado c1906

 

People

President William McKinley, our third Martyred President U.S.A. c1901

 

President Roosevelt with Alice Roosevelt-Longworth and Honorable Nicholas Longworth in Bridal attire c1906

International

Swedish Girls and their country home, province of  Blekinge, Sweden c1902

 

Monte Carlo, Bird’s eye View, Monaco  c1894

 

General View of Jani Temple and Grounds. Calcutta, India

 

Tablet in Albert Memorial Chapel, Windsor
Durham Cathedral from the River, Eng c1898

 

“Porta della Carta” Grand Entrance, Ducal Palace, Venice, Italy c1898

 

In Beautiful Drottningholm Place, Stockholm, Sweden c1901

 

An Irish Obstruction- Driving the pigs to market in the scenic land of Erie  c1905

 

General Subjects

 

“You can’t get me now” c1903

 

Weaning the Twins c1894

 

The Brides Prayer: “Make Thy face to shine upon me, Make my life a life of love”c1905

 

How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood c1903

 

Nearing the haven c1902

 

Innocents and the Household Pet c1905

 

Her Guardian Angels c1893

 

“He shall give His angels charge concerning thee  c1905

 

And they never called me c1899

 

A Light Lunch c1894

 

Humorous

A Train Robber holding up a train  c1900

 

Quickest way to spread the news -TELL-A-WOMAN c1904

 

Quick way to Spread the News- Telegraph c1904

 

“Oh fortunate, Oh happy day”  c1894

 

Bliss c 1888

 

Bliss Disturbed c1888

 

 

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