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LEROY - Stereo-panoramique Leroy (1903)

Lucien Leroy was a former student from the Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures of Paris. He was one of these brilliant engineers who participated to the great renown of the french technology until the 30s.
As inventor-engineer, his name is linked to several famous inventions. One of the most known is an electrical impulse distributor that he invents in 1894 together with Charles Bazin. This system will be used by Albert Londe for his researches related to time-lapse photography. Lucien Leroy has also interest in electronic transmissions. He made several equipments in this domain such as a military telegraphic receptor and an incredible pocket telegraph.

His works on time-lapse photography allows him to meet another inventor-engineer : Charles Dessoudeix. This last one is a specialist in horology. Charles Dessoudeix had a small factory that he sold to Charles Bazin.

Later on, Lucien Leroy will acquire this factory and progressively transforms it in a prosperous company, producing high precision cameras.

Stereo-Panoramique Leroy (1903) with Lacour-Berthiot lenses
and cable release Antinoüs

The Stereo-Panoramique Leroy is a very ingenious camera, which combines high-performance and multi-formats. Its life duration in the different catalogs of the camera resellers attests of its high quality and its commercial success-story.

Its novelty was relying on its capability to easily produce both 6 x 6 cm stereoscopic views and 6 x 13 cm panoramic views.

Other cameras were also presenting this characteristic, such as the jumelle cameras based on a horizontal decentration. The beauty of the solution found by Lucien Leroy to easily switch from one format to the other has placed this camera much ahead of all its opponents.

Lucien Leroy's idea was to locate the shutter behind the lenses. The platform supporting the right lens can rotate on its axis in order to move this lens in to a central position. When using the panoramic mode, the lens not used had to be closed up with a lens cap.

Another interesting characteristic is that the hole of each shutter has a surface which is twice bigger than the one of the rear lens. This is increasing by 50% the quantity of light arriving on the plate 6 x 13 cm when using the panoramic mode, ensuring a better luminosity of the pictures.

Regarding optical characteristics, the Stereo-panoramique was offered with different lenses from several famous manufacturers. All these lenses have a focal distance between 80 and 82 mm; this was a good compromise for both proposed formats.

In 1914, the proposed lenses (all equiped with an iris) was the following:

bulletAnastigmat Darlot with 5 lenses f=80mm

Ross 1:8,5

bulletKrauss Protar Zeiss III 1:9 f=82mm
bulletGoerz double anastigmat with 6 lenses 1:8,5 f=80mm
bulletTessar Zeiss 1:6,3 f=80mm (not the best choice for panoramic views)
bulletLacour-Berthiot Eurigraphe Anagstigmat 1:6,8 f=80m

It is probable that starting from 1914, the German lenses made by Zeiss or Goerz were no longer mounted on Leroy cameras.
For information, the camera presented here has been initially purchased with Krauss Protar lenses but these ones have been replaced later on by Lacour-Berthiot lenses, much more performing.

5 shutter speeds (+ pose) are available using a selector located on the top right of the front face of the camera.
Position 1 gives 1/10 second, 2 = 1/25 second, 3 = 1/45 second, 4 = 1/60 second and 5 = 1/75 second.

This camera was also allowing to produce autochromes thank to special plate frames and two corrective lenses.

I had the great privilege to purchase this camera from a lady who was owning it since several years. It was in her family since 1914, date when the grand-father of her husband acquired it directly from the Lucien Leroy's factory.
In addition to the fact she accepted to pass on this camera to me, I felt a lot of emotions when this lady gave me a letter dated from August 1914 which was addressed to the grand-father of her husband. In this letter, written and signed from Lucien Leroy himself, this one is describing how to clean the two lenses of the camera.
Can we imagine today the CEO of Canon so deeply involved in the maintenance activities of his own company ? Click on the signature on the left to discover this incredible document and appreciate its style and the precision of the given answer.

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