Seeing in Stereo

A Stereographoscope Worth $350



Thank you for sending an image of your stereographoscope (try to say that 10 times fast!). It is a nice example of its type and represents "movie-like" entertainment before motion pictures and television were invented. Stereographoscopes (also known as stereoscopes and stereoviewers) were made to view stereo cards (also called stereographs), a pair of photographs mounted on a single card. When viewed, these stereo cards became a three-dimensional "stereo" view by having each eye see the photograph separately and simultaneously. Our family has been collecting 19th-century stereo cards for 20 years and we have examples depicting local townships, the White Mountains, the Civil War and most recently acrobats going over Niagara Falls!

In 1838 Sir Charles Wheatstone of England patented the first stereoscope using mirrors set on an angle to reflect a pair of images. Soon after, David Brewster developed the concept of using lenses and prisms to make the viewing more effective. Brewster is also known for inventing one of my favorite creations, the kaleidoscope.

In the 1860s Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., in addition to his literary and medical accomplishments, created a simpler hand-held stereoscope, which he purposely did not patent so that it could be widely copied for mainstream use. With the further development of photography, and with stereoviewers now being widely available and less expensive, stereography became a very popular pastime.

By 1900 most households had a stereoscope or stereoviewer and a collection of cards. These views depicted everything from historical views, landmarks, souvenir views, art history, comedy and images from around the world. Today the modern View-Master is based on the stereographoscopes from the 19th century.

Your stereoscope is a French table-top model and dates to the late 19th century. In addition to viewing stereocards, the magnifying lens was also used to view postcards and other photography.

Stereoscopes and stereoviewers can vary in price from $10 to more than $5,000. Stereoscopes and stereocards are wonderful to collect and share. We typically have a nice selection of them available here at New Hampshire Antique Co-op. Nineteenth-century stereo cards from the White Mountains are always popular and prices can begin at only $5 a card.

I would value your stereoscope at $350.

Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. The Soothing Power of Reiki
    Reiki and other complementary approaches to wellness, such as art therapy, aromatherapy and...
  2. When Is it Too Late for Plastic Surgery?
    More and more seniors are saying it's never too late and are signing up for various procedures....
  3. Tamworth Distillery's Local Spirits
    This farm-to-bottle distillery brings creative alchemy to a small town in New Hampshire.
  4. Find Your Own Food - Foraging in New Hampshire
    It doesn’t get much more local than stepping outside and finding things to eat. Learn about how...
  5. Guide to Antiquing in New Hampshire
    It’s August, which means it’s almost time for the 58th annual NH Antiques Week. To mark this...
  6. Running Strong
    In June 95-year-old George Etzweiler became the oldest person to finish the 7.6-mile Mount...
  7. New Hampshire’s Northern Tip
    A trio of towns — Pittsburg, Clarksville and Stewartstown — fill the narrow triangle at the...
Edit ModuleShow Tags