Museum logo
Museum logo

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number A.I.001 part 1 and 2
Object Name Stereoviewer
Description Stereopticon aka stereoscope viewer for the eyes fits face, handle to hold, sliding frame for picture. D-XII-9a Stereoscope Postcard in Viewer. On underside metal, by handle is stamped: "Manufactured by Underwood & Underwood. Patented June 11, 1901. Foreign patents applied for." On top of viewer is "Sun Sculpture, U&U Trademark". Sliding photo holder will slide along the frame of the viewer to move photo closer or further away from the eyes of person using the viewer.

A Brief Stereoscopic History:

At one time the stereoscope and view cards were found in every American home. From 1850 until World War I, the stereoscope allowed our forefathers to visit every corner of America and the world. It provides us with a three dimensional historical record of those 70 years.

The first stereoscope viewer was created in 1833 by Sir Charles Wheatstone a British inventor. Because photography was unknown at the time, drawings were used. By 1850 crude stereoscopes and glass views were available. Tintypes, Albumen, Daguerreotypes and flat mount paper Stereographs soon followed. Sir David Brewster invented a box shaped viewer that was popular at the time.

In 1859, Oliver Wendell Holmes developed a compact, hand-held viewer and Joseph L. Bates of Boston made improvements and manufactured them. With advances in photography a new industry and form of entertainment was created.

Stereo pictures are taken by means of a camera with two lenses. This provides two separate pictures 2.5 inches apart, about the distance between the eyes. Although the pictures appear the same, they are not. When looked at in a viewer, which has prismatic lenses, your eyes will blend the two views into one and the brain perceives it in three dimensions the same as normal vision.

Rapid transportation, radio, movies and other forms of entertainment created the demise of the stereoscope and by 1920 only one company survived.
Artist Underwood & Underwood
Caption Sterioptican viewer
Credit line Donated by Fred B. and Floyd Griffin, Grandsons of Almina Griffin, Artist
Search Terms stereoscope
Underwood & Underwood
Sun Sculpture
Subjects Equipment