11 August 2020

Vérascope Revolving Stereoscope

Category: Stereoscopes   Tags: Jules Richard
Vérascope Revolving Stereoscope - Black & White Photography and Stereoscopy Blog

The Vérascope was the first stereo camera that supported the new 45x107mm glass plate negative format that was introduced by Jules Richard in 1893. It revived stereo photography and the name Vérascope became also the trademark for stereoscopes and other accessories that supported the 45x107mm format.

The Vérascope revolving stereoscope is based on a patent by Alexander Beckers from New York. It was therefore also called Beckers style or American style stereoscope. The design is based on a construction with a chain that contains holders for the stereoviews. By rotating the chain, the stereoviews are shown one by one.

This type of stereo viewer does not offer the best viewing experience and replacing the stereoviews is cumbersome. However, these viewers remained popular, even after more sophisticated slide tray stereoscopes, such as the Taxiphote, were introduced.

Vérascope Revolving Stereoscope

The revolving stereoscope had some advantages. They were cheaper and many models support both paper stereocards and glass stereoviews. This Vérascope revolving stereoscope is made for the 45x107mm glass format and has no mirror to illuminate stereocards. The chain is made of iron to carry the heavier glass slides. The chain is attached to the device and can't be removed, which would make replacing the slides easier. This model can carry 50 slides but there were also tall floor-models for 100 and 200 slides. The achromatic lenses can be focussed but the distance between both lenses can't be adjusted. A frosted glass at the back illuminates the glass slides.

Jules Richard introduced later the Kalloscope, which was a more sophisticated revolving stereoscope. It was based on a patent of Richard and Chauvelon. The Kalloscope moves the entire chain down before it rotates to the next image. So the actual rotating is not visible in front of the lenses which enhances the viewing experience.

Although the revolving stereoscopes are not the best stereo viewers, I like their simple design. They just look beautiful and this particular model is in very good condition. The bakelite parts, lenses and woodwork haven't suffered much.

Vérascope Revolving Stereoscope
The chain with slide holders

References:

  • Stereoscopes: the first one hundred years, Paul Wing, 1996
  • Jules Richard Catalog 1913