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MACKENSTEIN - Stereo Jumelle (c.1893)


The H. Mackenstein Factory was created in 1872 and located 15, Carmes street in Paris, France.

At the beginning, it was just a small cabinet making which was also producing small parts of mechanical for photographic cameras.

This period was favourable for any kind of creations that factories such as H.Mackenstein were building for passionate inventors. In this way, the H.Mackenstein’s factory assembles in 1888 the very first film camera equiped with a single-lens, fully operational, able to film up to 20 images per seconde. This film camera results from the works of Augustin Leprince, brilliant inventor to whom the history will refuse the paternity of the invention of the cinematograph.
But nevertheless… it will only be seven years later, in 1895, that the Lumière’s brothers became well known with their famous cinematographic exhibition.

H.Mackenstein seems to have produced its own range of photographic cameras (chambers, foldings, Jumelle, etc...) until 1914.

Stereo Jumelle c.1893
(Lens Goerz Berlin - Doppel anastigmat D.R.P serie III/o - f:120 mm)

With its size and its weight, the Stereo Jumelle is a stereoscopique camera which impresses ! Its making is exceptional and it looks robust.

Curiously, despite it is without a possible doubt a Stereo Jumelle, on the front plate of the camera presented here is engraved "Jumelle Photographique" (another camera made by H.Mackenstein but not a stereoscopic one).

This Stereo Jumelle is equiped of two lens C.P Goerz Berlin Doppel - Anastigmat D.R.P serie III/o, having a focale distance of 120 mm. Diaphragms of these two lens are coupled together with a mechanical arm which synchronizes the aperture wanted. The shutters, also linked together, have multiple speeds (not calibrated).

This stereoscopic camera can be easily transformed in a mono-view camera. For that, you need to unlock a latch located on the left edge of the front plate. When unlocked, push the plate onto the lefthand side. Proceeding like this, the right lens is now located in the middle of the optic plan and the basis of the left lens is now closed.
Focusing is done moving the plate supporting the two lens perpendicularly to the optical axle. This movement of the front plate is driven by a knurled knob located on the righthand of the camera's body.

The framed viewfinder can be folded and moved between the two axles of the stereoscopic chambers. And to crown it all, the top of the camera is equipped with a little spirit level to help align the camera.

Considering the photographic medium, the Stereo Jumelle is equiped with a very clever magazin. This one is able to contain a stack of eleven glass plates of a format 9 x 18 cm. After each shooting, the operator pulled the handle of the magazin. The exposed plate fall to the bottom of the magazin. When the operator pushed back the handle of the magazin, the exposed plate was automatically positioned at the bottom of the pile.

I purchased this camera during the summer 2008 at an antics market. I literally snatched it from the hands of a tourist in shorts and undershirt who was asking the vendor « Which kind of films do I need to use with that camera ? ». I’m still shaking with indignation when thinking to what this poor camera may have endured with that guy !

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