The Stéréocycle was introduced by Charles Bazin and Lucien Leroy in 1897. For a brief introduction to the designers and their company's history, I refer to my post about the Stéréo-Panoramique Leroy.
The name "Stéréocycle" is based on its clever design that uses rotation cycles to load new plates. The two 6 x 6,5cm glass plate negatives that make a stereo pair are placed in separate metal frames. After each exposure the cover of the magazine is loosened and the camera is rotated clockwise twice (with the lenses down). This places two unexposed plates in shooting position. Each rotation moves a plate from the back of the left stack to the back of the right and a plate from the front of the right stack to the front of the left stack.
On 6 February 1903, Lucien Leroy presented at the Société Française de Photographie the Stéréocycle à décentrement with lens offset. This model could shift the lenses vertically to photograph high buildings and correct vertical converging lines.
The camera is offered with lenses from different manufactures in a catalog from 1913:
- Ross 80mm F7.7
- Berthiot 75mm F6
- Goerz serie III 75mm F6.8
- Tessars-Zeiss 75mm F6.3
My Stéréocycle is an early model with serial number 4906. The camera has two Koch Anastigmat lenses without serial numbers. The focal length is not specified, but is probably 75mm or 80mm. The diaphragm must be set for each lens separately. The shutter is in working condition and supports five different speeds. Changing the plates by rotating the camera works flawless.
The camera's features:
- Support for 6 x 13cm stereoscopic format, produced by two paired glass plate negatives of 6 x 6,5cm
- Magazine for 24 glass plates (producing 12 stereoscopic images)
- Two fixed focussing Koch Anastigmat lenses with four diaphragm settings, numbered 1 to 4
- Five shutter speeds which can be set using a selector: 1 = 1/10 sec., 2 = 1/25 sec., 3 = 1/45 sec., 4 = 1/60 sec., 5 = 1/75 sec. and "pose" (manual)
- Full metal body of about 1000 grams
- Folding crosshair viewfinder
Postcard to Lucien Leroy
Sometimes you'll find little gems on auction sites that bring history to life. I recently found a postcard addressed to Lucien Leroy. Someone requests for information about his cameras. The postcard was sent on 20 November 1908 and a note in pencil tells that the request is answered on 24 November 1908.
The translated text reads:
M. Leroy. Engineer. Rue du Rocher
Could you send me your latest information on "Le Stéréocycle & Stéréo-Panoramique" Leroy.
Thank you and greetings
J. Manhès, Aurillac
- De Londe à Guérin ou l'histoire de la maison Dessoudeix, Club Niépce Lumière
- Lucien Leroy Catalog 1913