Sometimes you will get a glimpse of the individual history of your treasure and know where it was stored, wether it was looked after or long forgotten, if the owner was well situated or not, etc. For me, these stories are invaluable. As a passionate restorer, I especially appreciate viewers that have remained untouched since their last use. I carefully remove the dust of decades to reveal the original beauty of a stereoscope. Being the first one to do so feels almost like getting in touch with those who bought it a century ago. I want to take you to one of those journeys.
What kind of entertainment would you have as a Soviet kid growing up in the 1980s? A couple of dolls, clothes; metallic constructor sets, the vinyl recordings of children’s stories; some cassettes with popular Russian songs, and a bunch of filmstrips. These things were in almost everyone’s possession – at least, that’s how I remember my friend’s toys. However, I had something very special – a set of stereo cards, along with a simple stereoscope that looked like binoculars.
Not long after the Brewster viewer first appeared and the interest in stereoscopy grew the market for viewers grew likewise and many designs of stereoscopes appeared including some very fine British viewers. Read about box sliding viewers, book viewers, viewers with cabinets and many more.
It’s probably safe to assume that most people were introduced to 3D images via View-Master. Introduced at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the handheld 3D viewer was a very popular format that sold literally billions of products from the 1940s right on through the 2000s. Here you’ll find a brief history of View-Master, some images from my collection and key content categories that may be of interest to those looking to start or grow their collections.
The Brewster stereoscope was without doubt the singular most popular design of stereoscope from 1851 until the 1930’s when new formats took over and during this time its basic design changed very little. Though, there soon was a broad variety of improvements and elaborate decorations.
The Verascope and the Taxiphote are two halves of an unbelievable stereo development effort that went on for 40 years essentially without any changes. The Taxiphote was exported to and patented in many countries. All this serves as an example of how attractive stereoscopy was at that time, and also confirms the quality of the Taxiphotes as a technical device. We can only guess at the prestige of having a Taxiphote at that time.
What is meant by true crime? It’s a nonfiction genre having to do with actual crimes, usually murder. It’s popular now, but it was popular in the 19th century too‒just think of the penny press and the National Police Gazette. As the joke says, “Crime may not pay, but it sells!”. I was curious to see if it made its way into stereo cards, too. In what follows, I’ve tried to provide a thumbnail sketch of each crime. Accounts from the time often vary, so I’ve tried to present a composite set of the facts which I think are the most likely.
I present you a series of modern stereo cards, inspired by the Victorian way of depicting reality: Stereoscopic photography. I’ve been inspired and fascinated by the atmosphere of old stereoscopic cards, which were, in their time, the most realistic way to immortalize and then relive the memories driven by the sight of a particular scene. I show you how to create your own modern stereo card in 10 minutes!