2D Cameras

Stereo Cameras

Cabinet Stereoscopes

Handheld Stereoscopes

Stereo Projectors

Old Stereo Photos

New Stereo Photos

Stereo Misc.

Stereo Cameras Explained

Repair or Restore?

If you're looking for rhyme or reason in this, don't bother. My purpose is merely to share an interest in what is today a relatively unknown photographic discipline. The "facts" as presented here are subject to change and modification as people step forth to enlighten me. I encourage this. The cameras are from my own collection. A common question is are these old things usable. Many are. Here is a sample stereo pair shot with a Verascope.
J.H. Dallmeyer Sliding Box Stereo

Dallmeyer Universal Sliding Box Stereo

J. H. Dallmeyer Optician London

Dallmeyer was a leading optician, who obviously wished to see his lenses presented on cameras worthy of his name. This camera, as beautifully made as it is rugged, features perfectly inletted brass bindings, which are interspersed with equally perfect dovetail joints. Each joint is reinforced by a perfectly aligned brass screw. The camera must have been a late entry in the age of sliding box cameras, c.1868. There is both a matching wet plate, and clamshell style dry plate holder. The focusing screen is also matching numbered. Also included, a second mismatched wet plate holder, which shows chemical stains from use, a second pair of sequentially numbered Dallmeyer lenses, a well made Dallmeyer flap shutter, Dallmeyer Sliding Box Cameraand two screen focusing lenses. Tilting the camera around under a light reveals the most amazing three dimensional wood grain. They must have used all the best trees first.

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G. Hare Stereo Tailboard Camera

G. Hare Stereo

Trained as a cabinet maker, George Hare entered the camera manufacturing business circa 1857. He contributed several important innovations to 19th century camera design. Hare cameras were made to the highest standards. The mahogany wood is finished in a deep rich reddish brown. Dovetailed corner joints are perfectly fitted and every screw head is aligned like soldiers prepared for inspection. The sequentially numbered Dallmeyer stereoscopic lenses incorporate wheel stops. The included Dallmeyer Rapid Rectilinear mono lens has a matching set of numbered waterhouse stops. Hare Stereo OutfitAll the major wood components on the camera bear an assembly number "1" as do both lens boards. A feature of this set is a Hare's Automatic Changing Box. Although not the first to make a daylight plate loader, Hare's device, patented in 1875, was an early example of the concept. One of the two plate holders is equipped with a special light tight interface to match the changing box. It would likely be easier to just carry extra plate holders.

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Adams & Co Challenge Stereo

Adams & Co Challenge Stereo

Adams & Co Camera

This lovely wooden thing, adorned with leather and polished brass, also happens to take photos. Adams & Co is generally known for their Minex Tropical cameras of the 1920s. Whatever the design, Adams wanted to produce the finest quality product. The mottled surface appearance of this 1890s Challenge tailboard is the result of being constructed from quarter sawn wood. Hold the camera near a light source, tip it slightly side to side, and the light and dark areas will swap tones. It is a mesmerizing effect. Even the plate holders share this characteristic. The only visible component not made with quarter sawn wood is the stereo lens board, Adams & Co Challenge Stereo kitwhich brings up the interesting question of what constitutes a true stereo camera. As with many such cameras, the stereo lenses and septum were an accessory addition. Both this piece, and the George Hare above, when cased, make no provision for storing the stereo lens board and lenses. The stereo lenses here, are a lovely matched set of Wrays. The included mono lens is labeled Adams & Co., but It has a telltale "Made in Paris" engraving on the barrel. There is no other indication as to its maker.

Chadwick Stereo Camera

W.I. Chadwick Stereo

W.I. Chadwick Manchester

The available literature paints W.I. Chadwick as a great innovator, and even assigns him some credit for re igniting interest in stereo photography with the design of his stereo camera in 1890. Sadly, there isn't photographic evidence available on line to demonstrate his prowess as a camera designer. In fact, there is almost no information of any kind, so all we can do is appreciate what we have here. In this case, it's a half plate tailboard stereo camera with a lovely set of matched Chadwick stereo lenses, and an equally beautiful Chadwick Stereo Camera KitChadwick landscape lens on a mono lens board.Although clearly made for a camera exactly like this, the flap shutter's condition and maker's label are different than the camera itself,so it's most likely from another set. Several available references note stereo kits were equipped with aThornton Pickard rollerblind shutter. If this outfit had one originally, it would have been an over-the-lenses style, rather than being mounted on the lens board as are other examples in my collection. Also according to the references, this camera was likely made for Chadwick by Billcliff.

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Horne Thornthwaite Wood Stereo Camera

Tailboard Stereo (Horne, Thornthwaite & Wood?)

Here we have another circa 1880s tailboard camera, which has been converted with a Thornton Pickard shutter and Aldis Anastigmat lenses. This particular example includes stereo base adjustment. The camera exhibits all the inherent quality one expects of the era. The corners are all constructed with perfectly fitting dovetail joints, the screw heads all line up, and the square corner bellows have a deep burgundy color which accentuates the beautiful mahogany wood. How is it someone would make such a high quality piece, with so much pride of workmanship, and not identify themselves with a maker's label? Poking around, I spotted photos of a Horne, Thornthwaite & Wood camera which shares important characteristics with this ca mera. Items such as finish detailing of the wood on the front of the camera, number and location of screws, and identical brass hardware suggest this may be a H,T&W made camera.

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W Morley Stereo Camera

W. Morley Stereo

At some point in the 1890s, this circa 1880s mahogany tailboard camera had it's original lenses replaced with a set of Wrays, mounted on a Thornton Pickard stereo shutter. The quality of wood, richness of the original maroon square leather bellows and perfect dovetail joints all speak to the degree of workmanship lavished on cameras of this era. Features included a rising front and tilting back.

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Watson & Sons Stereo Camera

W. Watson & Sons Stereo

Watson & Sons High Holborn

Watson was another high quality camera builder at the height of the British Empire. Unlike many of their competitors, they survived until after WWII. As is commonly seen, this example most likely started life without a shutter. Some time later it acquired an unlabeled roller blind shutter and a set of unnumbered Beck Primus lenses. For reasons I cannot possibly imagine, although designed for a stereo lens pair, the shutter curtain travels horizontally. Frankly, that's not a good idea. It means if there is any motion in the subject being photographed, the two images will not be perfectly timed. Another interesting feature of the camera is rather than using a Meagher style flap to lock the tailboard, this camera has a brass rod which fitts into a very carefully cut slot in the side support. One final aspect of this particular camera is it's based on a half plate format, rather than the postcard formats more common in stereo bodies.

E. Mazo Stereo

E. Mazo Stereo

Fourth quarter 19th century tailboard stereo camera, with Mazo lenses on Thornton-Pickard stereo shutter. I'm guessing it was a private label product made for Mazo by someone else.

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Wilh Recker Stereo Camera

Wilh Recker, Koeln

Wilh Recker Stereo Camera

Although Thornton Pickard was a leader in creating roller blind shutters, which could be adapted to existing cameras, this tailboard camera, however, was built around its roller blind shutter. Dovetailed joints on the body suggest 1890s construction, with an early set of Zeiss Anastigmats. If the lenses date the camera, then based on a note about Zeiss serial numbers on Early Photography, I'll call this camera c.1894. The label suggests Recker was a commercial photographer and dealer in photographic equipment. Presumably, this is a private label camera, built to Recker's specifications.

J. Reygondaud Stereo Camera

J. Reygondaud Stereo

J. Reygondaud Stereo Tailboard Camera

By the latter part of the 19th century a thriving business had evolved for both professional and high quality amateur cameras. The sliding box style had given way to folding cameras with leather bellows such as this (circa 1890) Reygondaud. It has both mono and stereo lens sets mounted on roller blind shutters. The stereo lens pair are Darlots with waterhouse style stops. The mono shutter is by Mattioli. The stereo shutter has a trademark, but I don't know if its Mattioli or someone else. The single lens is a Goerz of most likely later vintage. The accessory view finder is an interesting piece. With the top cover closed, it works as an eye level finder. Open the cover and a mirror drops down internally, making it a waist level finder.

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Rochester Camera Ca Poco A stereo

Rochester Camera Co. POCO A

Rochester Poco A Stereo

The maker's label tells us this particular camera was manufactured in the 1895-'97 time frame. The hinged drop bed self casing design concept was pioneered by the Henry Clay Camera a few years prior. Those cameras set the stage for a whole generation of self casing cameras to follow. If the shutter dates the camera, then this and the next two cameras, both featuring B&L stereoscopic shutters, were manufactured in the order presented here.

Rochester Poco A

No 5 Folding Kodak satchel Camera

No. 5 Folding Kodak Improved "satchel" Stereo

In 1885, Blair established the concept of self-casing cameras with their commercially successful Lucidograph. Kodak soon followed with their own Folding cameras. Looking much like a satchel, the Kodaks were more practical, though still far from an ideal design. An interesting feature of the Kodak cameras was their incorporation of an Eastman-Walker roll film holder. The No. 5 Improved of 1893-'97 was given a wider lens board, allowing the use of stereo shutters. It could also shoot glass plates. By the turn of the century, better designs were available and the satchel cameras were gone.

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Folmer Schwing Folding Stereoscopic Camera

Folmer & Schwing Folding Stereoscopic Camera

Folmer & Schwing Manufacturing Co

Pre Kodak Folmer & Schwing cameras are not common. The F&S name, however, went on to grace huge numbers of hard working press, and amateur cameras. When F&S entered the self casing camera segment, they wanted to build a heavier, higher quality piece than generally available, but sell it at a competitive price. True to the maker's intent, this beautiful camera is somewhat bigger and heavier thanFolmer Schwing Stereo Camera cameras like the Rochester POCO A above. Notice the double extension to carry the front standard. This concept, with the addition of a focal plain shutter, would ultimately morph into the definitive Stereoscopic Graphic.

Rochester Stereo Poco

Rochester Camera & Supply Co. Stereo POCO

Rochester Camera Supply Co

The Stereo POCO camera was a typical turn of the century cased camera design. I tend to think of this as the third basic design evolution. Early cameras were of the sliding box type, then came folding designs with leather bellows, but their components were Rochester Camera Supply Co still exposed when the bed was folded up. Cased cameras were the norm for over 50 years. It took modern 35mm SLRs to unseat them. By changing the lens board and removing the internal septum, the camera can be converted for shooting regular 2D photos.

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Century Camera Co Stereo Model 46

Century Camera Co. Stereo Model 46

Century Camera Co 46

Started in 1900, Century was quickly absorbed by Eastman. By 1905 they had also absorbed the Rochester Panoramic Camera Co., who had recently introduced the Cirkut cameras. In 1907, the company became known as the Century Division of Kodak, and ultimately, as the Cirkut cameras evolved, the Century name was dropped. Thus, the Century camera name only had a short life. This example is in 5 x 7 format and includes a revolving back.

Anthony S
tereo Solograph

Anthony Stereo Solograph

Anthony Solograph

Before merging with Scovill, and later becoming Ansco, E&HT Anthony was the first American camera manufacturer. This c. 1901 Solograph was produced shortly before the merger. Although of fairly light construction, the detailed brass work on the shutter and lens board make this a highly attractive camera.

Korona Stereo Camera

Gundlach-Manhattan Optical Co. Korona Stereo

Korona Stereo Series VII

As was common with turn of the century optical companies, Gundlach went through a series of owners and naming variations. Based on the branding, this particular example was likely made somewhere between 1903 and the war years. Interestingly, while most Korona cameras had an ivorene maker's plate at the base of the front stand, this one does not. Instead the maker's information has been engraved on the decorative plate between the lenses. If the label appears crooked, that's because it is! Presumably, this was a manufacturing deffect. I would love to see if any other Korona cameras of this period had the same deffect.

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Folmer & Schwing Stereoscopic Graphic

Folmer & Schwing Stereoscopic Graphic

How quickly times change. Looking at the Folding Stereoscopic camera above, we see the product of great pride in design, and construction detail. The later Stereoscopic Graphic is still a functionally designed camera, but the jewel like appearance has been abandoned in favor of a harsh utilitarian quality. The in lens shutters have been replaced by a focal plane unit, which would be the hallmark of Graflex cameras for many decades. This particular camera has what must be considered mismatched lenses. The serial numbers are several hundred apart, and although both are Carl Zeiss Tessars, the lens bindings had been redesigned between the production of these two lenses. The lens mounts are marked E. B. Mayrowitz, the US agents for Zeiss lenses. Although the pair is a mismatch, it is reasonable to assume one or the other is a period replacement. The color and condition of the lens bindings are about identical. I would think it pretty tough to find a matching replacement today, so close to the serial number and condition of the original remaining lens. I suppose it's possible the camera came with these two lenses, but thinking about it, I find that unlikely. The Stereoscopic Graphic was a professional camera, built for a very small, specialized market. Although available for the better part of 20 years, relatively few were made.

Sigriste Stereo Camera

SOL Sigriste Stereo 6 x 13

Designed by a Swiss, Jean Guido, but manufactured in France, the Sigriste featured a very unusual tapered bellows focal plain shutter. Claimed top shutter speed on early models was 1/5000th. Even if this were true, emulsions of the day were generally unable to take advantage of such high speeds. Built almost entirely of wood, the camera is both large and awkward to handle. The magazine held 12 glass plates, but lacking a dark slide, it could not be changed in daylight. Both beautiful and extremely rare, the Sigriste is living proof good looks alone cannot overcome poor ergonomic design. even opening and closing the viewfinder frame required a specific sequence of non-intuitive motions.

Goerz Anschutz Stereo

Goerz Anschutz

Another turn of the century bellows type camera was the Goerz Anschutz. Featuring a focal plain shutter, the Goerz uses struts rather than a folding bed. The camera may be used to create 2D panoramas by removing the internal septum and sliding the lenses over so one is centered. After the age of interchangeable lens boards, this was a not uncommon feature prior to WWII. It has a Newtonian action finder on top, or a ground glass could be attached for critical composition and focusing.

Back and Side Views | Instruction Manual

Mackenstein La Francia

Mackenstein La Francia

A delicate French 45 x 107 strut folding design, La Francia folded up into a very small package. It would be carried in a felt pouch and was perfectly suited to be carried in a purse, or coat pocket. Like many of its contemporaries, the shutter is pneumatically controlled, with "slow" (len t), and "fast" (rapide) settings. The aperture control knob on the upper right must have been a production line modification. Whereas labeling on the front plate has been beautifully engraved, markings for the aperture knob are scratched in by hand. Perhaps it came unmarked and an owner later scratched in his own markings. Another oddity of this particular camera is the red leather bellows have been dyed black. This is one of the rare few cameras I think actually looks better in black.

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Photo Hall Stereo

Photo Hall

The Photo Hall is one of a plethora of French 45 x 107 mm glass plate cameras. Not a highly sophisticated machine. The body is leather covered wood and it uses a simple metal plate holder with dark slide.

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Blair Stereo Weno

Blair Stereo Weno

Blair was one of a number of companies absorbed by Eastman around the turn of the century. Built in the popular "pocket" style, Weno cameras are less common than the similar Hawkeye models, and were only made in 1902-'03. Although still labeled Blair Camera Co., Kodak would drop the Blair name around 1908. This is an early example, serial number 88. All the others I have seen have an aperture scale bridging the top of the gap between the shutters. Blair Camera Co and Weno are then stamped into the black metal cover. On this camera, Blair Camera Co. is stamped into the two small chrome plates screwed to the tops of the shutters. Only the name WENO is stamped into the black metal plate.

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Kodak No 2 Stereo Bro

No 2 Stereo Brownie

Kodak made a large and confusing series of folding stereo cameras. This was due in part to the fact Eastman kept absorbing competing companies, but continued to offer their products. The No 2 Stereo Brownie is a personal favor ite. On these early cameras the handle was on top, so one would carry the camera much like a lunch box.

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Kodak Stereo Hawkeye

Stereo Hawkeye Model 4

One of the prettiest folding Kodaks, the Stereo Hawkeye Model 4. Eastman absorbed many camera companies along the way, including the Blair Camera Co. This led to the rather long winded Eastman Kodak Co Successor to Blair Camera Co. label on the round disc between the lenses. Kodak must have realized there were advantages to Blair's design, because the Stereo Brownie had a short life.

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Kodak Stereo Hawkeye Model 6

Stereo Hawkeye Model 6

Kodak Hawkeye StereoIn firearms terms, we'd call this a transitional model. I'm fairly convinced the muted coloring of the brass was done on purpose, and is not just the effect of tarnishing under the lacquer.

Stereo Kodak Model 1

Stereo Kodak Model 1 (early)

The thin end of the wedge. Next thing you know they'll be making these things out of plastic. Oh wait, that's exactly what happened. Although the case has been modified, there is no mistaking the Hawkeye origins of the Model 1. It also marked the end of the beautiful wood, brass and maroon bellows era. I've also seen a version like this but still with the lacquered brass shutter. If I run across a nice one for sale, it will be joining the collection.

Stereo Kodak Model 1

Stereo Kodak Model 1

This is a later example of the Stereo Kodak Model 1. Notice how the camera has evolved from the box shape of the No 2 Brownie. The handle has moved to the end, which is rounded instead of square. Its now much more typical of a 1920s pocket camera. However, these cameras were way to big to fit in your pocket. Standard stereo view cards of the day were 3.5 x 7 inches, and so the camera had to accommodate a big roll of film.

Lizars Challenge Model B Stereo

Lizars "Challenge" Model B Stereo

Laizars ChallengeLizars is arguably best known for their tropical models, but the company produced an array of nicely made cameras. Oddly, this stereo model cannot be closed with the lens board in place. This is due, at least in part, to the roller blind style septum installed for stereo work. While this camera could have been produced as a panoramic model, which just happened to double as a stereo body, it seems odd. The septum is held in place with screws, so it's not a simple matter to remove it. The B&L style shutter is marked Challenge, so this is obviously a factory made example, or at least modified with Lizars supplied pieces.

Hugo Stockig union 30

Hugo Stöckig Union 30

Stöckig was a large German mail order company which sold many private label versions of Ernemann cameras, under the Union label. This particular model was the Union version of the Ernemann Heag IV Stereoskop. The back incorporated an unusual folding viewing hood for the focusing screen. Later versions incorporated a reflex finder mounted on the front between the lenses.

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