André Ruiter Stereoscopy

ICA Stereospekt

April 12, 2020
ICA Stereospekt - B&W photographer and collector of antique photographica
I much appreciate German photo gear. I'm photographing with Zeiss optics for many years now and since two years I shoot my photo projects with a Leica Monochrom. Although this blog is mainly about French stereoscopy, I couldn't resist the temptation to add a German stereoscope to my collection.

About ICA

The International Camera Actiengesellschaft (ICA) from Dresden was founded in 1909 by merging four existing camera manufacturers: Hüttig AG, Kamerawerk Dr. Krügener, Wünsche AG and Carl Zeiss Palmos AG. An attempt to involve Ernemann in the merger failed and this company would become a major competitor for ICA.

ICA's trademark was a pentagram, which was adopted in a slightly modified way from Hüttig AG. The company offered a wide range of cameras and accessories, including stereo cameras and stereoscopes. Before the First World War it had the largest camera factory in Europe. In 1926, ICA formed with Ernemann, Goerz and Contessa-Nettel the new Zeiss Ikon company.

ICA adopted the new stereo glass formats 45x107 and 6x13 that were introduced by Jules Richard in France. The success of glass stereophotography was more modest in Germany than in France, and German stereoscopes for glass stereoviews are therefore more rare.

ICA advertisement from 1925
ICA advertisement from 1925


The Stereospekt is a compact multi-view stereoscope with models for the 45x107 and 6x13 format. The device has a different mechanism than the more common chain- and tray type stereoscopes. Like the Multiphote, its mechanism is based on gravity to bring the slides into viewing position.

The stereoscope has a wooden housing on four small legs. The front panel contains a metal plate with Stereospekt - ICA Akt.-Ges. Dresden. The lenses can be focused, but the distance between the lenses cannot be adjusted. The back contains a frosted glass to illuminate the images. The serial number 85622 is engraved on the inside. The device was manufactured somewhere between 1915 and 1926.

ICA Stereospekt 45x107
ICA Stereospekt for 45x107 glass slides

The front panel is locked with a key and must be opened to place the glass slides. The slides are mounted in a metal harmonica belt. The belt can contain up to 12 slides. The top contains instructions on how to position the belt in the device. The instructions are written in three languages, indicating that the Stereospekt was an export product. The slides are firmly clamped in frames, which indicates that the slides should remain permanently in the belt. Regular changing could easily damage the glass and additional belts were sold separately. It's a clever solution because the frames in the belt protect the vunarable glass slides very well. By depressing a small lever on the right side, the slides are loaded one by one.

ICA Stereospekt - belt with glass slides
Belt with glass slides
ICA Stereospekt
Stereospekt with slides

How it works


  • ICA on