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Stereographoscope / Pantoscope (c.1860)


At the beginning of the second half of the XIX° century, photography is in full expansion and becomes more democratic. Daguerreotypes and ambrotypes are progressively disappearing, replaced by prints on albumin paper, much less expensive. Families are building up superb photographic albums which is of good manners to offer guests for a glance.

With the invention in 1854 by André Adolphe Disdéri (1819-1889) of the print "Carte de Visite", and its importation in USA by C.D Fredericks, it is a real craze for the family portrait, but also of celebrities.

In parallel, new objects are invented to facilitate and make more comfortable the viewing of these photographies.

The first Graphoscopes appear circa 1855. At the beginning, they only have a large magnifying lens used for viewing paper prints. At that time, they are named "Monocles" (eyeglass).

With the increasing success of stereoscopic photography, two small magnification ports are added for viewing stereoviews and their designation became Pantoscope.

These objects were made to improve viewing as well as to be viewed. Mahogany, tropical hardwood, rosewood, marquetry, French varnis... nothing was too smart to give to these objects the elegance and the refinement needed for bourgeois interior of this period.

From an optical standpoint, this objet is very simple. Inside, there is an opening frame which is moving in two directions.

  Forward and backward, in order to adjust the focal distance to the view of the user.
  Up and down, upper position is used to visualize CVD portraits and the lower one, for stereoviews.

When it is folded, the Graphoscope has the size of a cigar's box and can stay on the round table of the living room. Later, the Graphoscope will be supplanted by portable systems such as the Mexicain and later on the stereoscope. However, Graphoscopes were still produced in 1927.




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