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Stereoscope, c. 1885
TitleStereoscope, c. 1885
Full Size Image
SubjectWilliamsburg (Mass.); Stereoscope.
DescriptionThis is a handheld device for viewing stereographic images in simulated 3D. The standard stereograph or stereo view format (side-by side images taken from about 2.5 inches apart, printed, and mounted the same distance apart on a stiff card) was invented in the 1860s and became wildly popular by the 1870s, persisting in widespread use until after the turn of the 20th century. Stereographs of the kind shown mounted in the stereoscope were the principal form of visual communication by which people of the late 19th century learned what faraway events, places and people looked like, and all households that could afford to be curious about them had viewers like this, just as most American households today have television. This is a nicely made viewer, all mahogany, that holds the card at an adjustable distance from the user's eyes so the focus can be optimized. Angled lenses and the wooden divider in the center direct the user's eyes so that each eye sees only one of the slightly different flat images; the viewer's brain merges them into a single three-dimensional image. The stereoscope is 12 inches long, 7.5 inches wide and 7.25 inches high, including the removable handle.
CreatorUnknown manufacturer
PublisherC/WMARS, Inc.
ContributorsPhotographed by Eric Weber
Datec. 1885
IdentifierMeekins Library--Local History--Objects Collection--Stereoscope
RelationPart of the Meekins Library, Williamsburg, Mass., Local History, Objects Collection.
RightsPermission to publish the image must be obtained from the Meekins Library by writing to or Meekins Library, Williamsburg, Mass., must be credited as the original source of the item for all use.
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