André Ruiter Stereoscopy

Vérascope by Jules Richard

May 15, 2020
Vérascope by Jules Richard - B&W photographer and collector of antique photographica
The Vérascope was a compact stereo camera that was introduced in 1893 by Jules Richard. It was the best selling stereo camera of its time and the production of various models continued well into the 1950s.

In 1893 Jules Richard introduced the new 45x107mm glass plate negative format for stereo cameras. It was a lot more compact than the larger formats, like the 8,5x17cm glass slides which were common these days. These large formats were used by large and expensive cameras and limited photography to professional photographers or wealthy amateurs.

Vérascope Richard advertisement from 1897
Advertisement from 1897

With the introduction of the 45x107 format, Jules Richard introduced the Vérascope stereo camera which was the first camera that supported the new format. The compact and relatively easy-to-operate camera revived stereo photography in the early 20th century in France. Vérascope Richard was not only the name of the camera, but became a trademark for a wide range of hand-held and revolving stereoscopes, developing tools and accessories. It made stereo photography accessible to amateurs. The product portfolio was completed with the Glyphoscope, a simple and affordable stereo camera as an alternative to the Vérascope.

In addition to the 45x107 Vérascope, models for the 6x13cm and the less popular 7x13cm format were introduced later. Many glass-plate models were introduced well into the 1920s. The last model was the Vérascope f40 for 35mm roll film, which was produced until the 1950s.

Vérascope number 6

Vérascope Richard number 6 camera (1921)
Vérascope number 6bs

The camera in my collection is a Vérascope number 6 which was introduced in 1908 and was available with Zeiss or Krauss F6.3 lenses (version 6a) or faster Zeiss F4.5 lenses (version 6b). My camera is a 6bs version and has two Boyer Saphir F4.5 lenses with serial numbers 385 and 410. This version was introduced in 1920 and the camera's serial number 40305 indicates that it's manufactured in 1921.

The camera's body is made entirely of metal and is meant to be mounted upside down on a tripod, so that the settings on the front panel can be read by leaning over the camera from above. The plate holder forms the back of the camera and can hold twelve 45x107mm glass negatives, which are advanced by a sliding action using the hinged handle. The plate holder has a built-in exposure counter and has serial number 43033.

The camera's features:

  • Two Boyer Saphir anastigmatic and fixed focussing lenses with a focal length of 56mm
  • Three diaphragm settings: f/4.5, f/8 and f/16
  • Shutter speeds: 1/500 to 1/9sec.
  • Guillotine shutter with two settings: P and I
  • Built-in angled viewfinder between both lenses
  • Folding crosshair viewfinder
  • Spirit level on top
  • Cable release

Vérascope Richard manual from 1910
Instruction manual from 1910

Used references:

  • Jules Richard et la Magie du Relief - part 1, Jacques Perin, 1993
  • Jules Richard catalog 1913
  • Verascope f40 on