21 January 2020

Multiphote Stereoscope by Lucien Bize

Category: Stereoscopes   Tags: Lucien Bize
Multiphote Stereoscope by Lucien Bize - Black & White Photography and Stereoscopy Blog

The Multiphote is a small table stereoscope based on a Bize and Claparède patent. It's simple in design with a very clever mechanism.

Lucien-Albert Bize and Siméon-Louis Claparède patented a design for a small table stereoscope with the name Minimus in 1907. The device lacks a more advanced mechanism which can be found in stereoscopes like the Hemdé or Planox. The glass stereoviews are simply brought in viewing position by gravity. The Multiphote is a further development and adds a slide-tray to place and catch the slides. It's a slightly bigger device compared to the Minimus, but it simplifies replacing the slides. Multiphotes were manufactured for the 45x107 and 6x13 format by Lucien Bize and his successor Robert Pleyau.

Stereoscope - advertisement from 1914
Advertisement from 1914 (source: Gallica)

How the Multiphote works

The top cover of the device needs to be removed to load the glass slides. It contains a short instruction manual on the inside. The slide-tray with 24 stereoviews is placed on the top section of the device. By removing a metal slide at the bottom of the tray, the slides fall into position. The empty tray is now placed in the bottom part of the device so it can catch the slides.

By turning the knobs on the left and right side, the viewer part with the lenses moves outward the device and the rearmost slide falls down and is placed in viewing position. By turning the knobs a little bit further, the slide drops into the slot of the slide-tray. This procedure is repeated for every slide. After viewing all the slides, the tray can be removed to reload the device. It's a simple but clever and effective design...

The lenses of the Multiphote can be focussed with a ring which is positioned between both lenses. Its modest design offers no feature to adjust the distance between the lenses and it lacks a slide index.

Multiphote stereoscope - loading the glass slides
Loading the glass slides


  • Stereoscopes: the first one hundred years, Paul Wing, 1996
  • Stéréoscope, Patent database