Oliver Wendell Holmes and Stereoviewing

A reproduction Holmes stereoscope.Holmes-style stereoviewer (Image via Wikipedia)
The history of 3-D from stereoscope to : The New Yorker

The New Yorker has an interesting piece on the development of 3-D stereoscopy, really a review notice of Ray Zone’s book Stereoscopic Cinema and the Origins of the 3-D Film, 1838-1952, and really a book about movies. I find some of it a bit breathless about Avatar. (Oy!) 

But there’s this bit on Oliver Wendell Holmes and the 19th C stereoscope (stereoviewer):

He [Holmes] was not the inventor of the stereoscope; that honor belongs to Charles Wheatstone, a British scientist who had built a more cumbersome device twenty years earlier. But Holmes’s lighter version sold en masse, and, in an even more fervid article from 1861, he guided stereoscopists on a grand verbal tour of the world, and promised them a trance—“a dream-like exaltation of the faculties, a kind of clairvoyance, in which we seem to leave the body behind us and sail away into one strange scene after another.”

I’ve written more on stereoviews and my collecting here. (Below: Images of New York from my collection.)

By Paul Romaine

Paul Romaine is a grant writer and independent curator in New York City.

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