M985.234.1 | The Mercury Stereoscope

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The Mercury Stereoscope
H. C . White Co.
About 1905, 20th century
19.8 x 17.5 x 32.5 cm
Gift of Mr. Bruno Bargelletti
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Stereoscope (1)
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Keys to History

Photography quickly became an essential part of the tourist experience. Amateur photography did not become popular until the Kodak camera, invented by George Eastman, became widely available around 1890. Before then, tourists could extend the pleasure of trips taken, or dream of future holidays, by purchasing a stereoscope and stereoscopic views. The stereoscope, found in most bourgeois homes, created a three-dimensional effect, making viewers feel they were a part of the landscape they were looking at.

Source : A Consuming Passion, Joanne Burgess, Université du Québec à Montréal (Consult the See Also box on this page)

  • What

    The stereoscope is a small device invented in the middle of the 19th century. It gives a three-dimensional effect when used to view stereographic photos.

  • Where

    Stereoscopes were found in many Canadian homes. Families and their guests enjoyed evenings spent viewing stereographs, which made them feel that they were being physically transported to another place.

  • When

    The idea of the stereoscope is very old. However, the invention of an instrument that could create a single three-dimensional image from two separate photographs had to await major discoveries in optics and the beginnings of photography.

  • Who

    Made by the H. C. White Company, an American firm, this Mercury stereoscope is one of many models on the market in the late 19th century.