Glass Slide Sets:

Over There Review


Isolationism not withstanding, Americans had a huge interest in the first World War, both during and after the conflict. In an age before statlite television, the two most effective ways to bring the reality of war to the public were through moving pictures and stereo views. It is easy to forget, in the first quarter of the 20th century stereo photography was a huge industry. While the Europeans chose glass transparencies, the American market was dominated by stereo card producers such as U&U and Keystone.

Certainly, glass views could be had. Its quite common to find a hand full of war views among American's personal photographs. However, being primarily of French manufacture and imported, glass views and viewers were more expensive. Domestic card manufacturers were smart enough to produce carloads of cheap Holmes style viewers. Odds are a significant percentage of American homes had one. Bucking the trend, a few American companies marketed glass views. Published information on these sets is scant today, so one can only speculate on what was available.

The fanciest set I have encountered is from Over There Review Inc. The set I have is comprised of six boxes of 32 slides each, and one oversize box holding another 32 views and a viewer. The viewer is marked made in France. At one time it was common to choose the individual views one liked in a store or catalog. Retailers also sold generic wood boxes to hold combinations of views and viewers. Were Over There views cataloged in the same fashion? I don't know. Serial numbers on the views far exceed the space available in seven boxes.

At least one source has given the impression it was a stock set. This makes sense in terms of the ease of assembly. The company could order x quantity each of a couple hundred different views and make up however many identical sets for sale. The views themselves are pretty much all French in origin, and chosen from a variety of vendors. I recall having read somewhere they are supposedly a match with one of the boxed sets, but I can no longer find the reference.

Originaly, paper labels with English translations were pasted over the center sections of the slides, often covering the original French labeling. This particular set has some, but not all of the labels intact. It has been suggested by one collector my set may have been assembled by a previous owner and then sold as "complete and original." I won't say its not possible, but the fact the views were not produced by a single vendor is well established by the ones with their labels intact.

Over There Review called the image sets historical and instructive. However long the company survived, and whatever number of sets they produced, its hard to argue the truth of their slogan.