2D Cameras

Stereo Cameras

Cabinet Stereoscopes

Handheld Stereoscopes

Stereo Projectors

Old Stereo Photos

New Stereo Photos

Stereo Misc.

Stereo Cameras Explained

Repair or Restore?

Folding Cameras: Although easier to store than a bulky box camera, keeping the structure rigid could be a challenge.

G. Hare Stereo Tailboard Camera

G. Hare

Trained as a cabinet maker, George Hare entered the camera manufacturing business circa 1857. He contributed several important innovations to 19th century camera design. Hare cameras were made to the highest standards. The mahogany wood is finished in a deep rich reddish brown. Dovetailed corner joints are perfectly fitted and every screw head is aligned like soldiers prepared for inspection. The sequentially numbered Dallmeyer stereoscopic lenses incorporate wheel stops. The included Dallmeyer Rapid Rectilinear mono lens has a matching set of numbered waterhouse stops. Hare Stereo OutfitAll the major wood components on the camera bear an assembly number "1" as do both lens boards. A feature of this set is a Hare's Automatic Changing Box. Although not the first to make a daylight plate loader, Hare's device, patented in 1875, was an early example of the concept. One of the two plate holders is equipped with a special light tight interface to match the changing box. It would likely be easier to just carry extra plate holders. Additional Views

Adams & Co Challenge Stereo

Adams & Co Challenge Stereo

Adams & Co Camera

This lovely wooden thing, adorned with leather and polished brass, also happens to take photos. Adams & Co is generally known for their Minex Tropical cameras of the 1920s. Whatever the design, Adams wanted to produce the finest quality product. The mottled surface appearance of this 1890s Challenge tailboard is the result of being constructed from quarter sawn wood. Hold the camera near a light source, tip it slightly side to side, and the light and dark areas will swap tones. It is a mesmerizing effect. Even the plate holders share this characteristic. The only visible component not made with quarter sawn wood is the stereo lens board, Adams & Co Challenge Stereo kitwhich brings up the interesting question of what constitutes a true stereo camera. As with many such cameras, the stereo lenses and septum were an accessory addition. Both this piece, and the George Hare above, when cased, make no provision for storing the stereo lens board and lenses. The stereo lenses here, are a lovely matched set of Wrays. The included mono lens is labeled Adams & Co., but It has a telltale "Made in Paris" engraving on the barrel. There is no other indication as to its maker.

Chadwick Stereo Camera


W.I. Chadwick

W.I. Chadwick Manchester

The available literature paints W.I. Chadwick as a great innovator, and even assigns him some credit for re igniting interest in stereo photography with the design of his stereo camera in 1890. Sadly, there isn't photographic evidence available on line to demonstrate his prowess as a camera designer. In fact, there is almost no information of any kind, so all we can do is appreciate what we have here. In this case, it's a half plate tailboard stereo camera with a lovely set of matched Chadwick stereo lenses, and an equally beautiful Chadwick landscape lens on a mono lens board. Chadwick Stereo Camera KitAlthough clearly made for a camera exactly like this, the flap shutter's condition and maker's label are different than the camera itself, so it's most likely from another set.Several available references note stereo kits were equipped with a Thornton Pickard rollerblind shutter. If this outfit had one originally, it would have been an over-the-lenses style, rather than being mounted on the lens board as are other examples in my collection. Also according to the references, this camera was likely made for Chadwick by Billcliff.

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Horne Thornthwaite Wood Stereo Camera

Tailboard Stereo (Horne, Thornthwaite & Wood?)

Here we have another circa 1880s tailboard camera, which has been converted with a Thornton Pickard shutter and Aldis Anastigmat lenses. This particular example includes stereo base adjustment. The camera exhibits all the inherent quality one expects of the era. The corners are all constructed with perfectly fitting dovetail joints, the screw heads all line up, and the square corner bellows have a deep burgundy color which accentuates the beautiful mahogany wood. How is it someone would make such a high quality piece, with so much pride of workmanship, and not identify themselves with a maker's label? Poking around, I spotted photos of a Horne, Thornthwaite & Wood camera which shares important characteristics with this ca mera. Items such as finish detailing of the wood on the front of the camera, number and location of screws, and identical brass hardware suggest this may be a H,T&W made camera.

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W Morley Stereo Camera

W. Morley

At some point in the 1890s, this circa 1880s mahogany tailboard camera had it's original lenses replaced with a set of Wrays, mounted on a Thornton Pickard stereo shutter. The quality of wood, richness of the original maroon square leather bellows and perfect dovetail joints all speak to the degree of workmanship lavished on cameras of this era. Features included a rising front and tilting back.

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Watson & Sons Stereo Camera

W. Watson & Sons

Watson & Sons High Holborn

Watson was another high quality camera builder at the height of the British Empire. Unlike many of their competitors, they survived until after WWII. As is commonly seen, this example most likely started life without a shutter. Some time later it acquired an unlabeled roller blind shutter and a set of unnumbered Beck Primus lenses. For reasons I cannot possibly imagine, although designed for a stereo lens pair, the shutter curtain travels horizontally. Frankly, that's not a good idea. It means if there is any motion in the subject being photographed, the two images will not be perfectly timed. Another interesting feature of the camera is rather than using a Meagher style flap to lock the tailboard, this camera has a brass rod which fitts into a very carefully cut slot in the side support. One final aspect of this particular camera is it's based on a half plate format, rather than the postcard formats more common in stereo bodies.

E. Mazo Stereo

E. Mazo

Fourth quarter 19th century tailboard stereo camera, with Mazo lenses on Thornton-Pickard stereo shutter. I'm guessing it was a private label product made for Mazo by someone else.

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Wilh Recker Stereo Camera

Wilh Recker, Koeln

Wilh Recker Stereo Camera

Unsurprisingly, the web has little to offer about this piece. The label suggests Recker was a commercial photographer and dealer in photographic equipment. Presumably, this is a private label camera, built to Recker's specifications. Dovetailed joints on the body suggest 1890s construction, with an early set of Zeiss Anastigmats. If the lenses date the camera, then based on a note about Zeiss serial numbers on Early Photography, I'll call this camera c.1894. Most cameras from this time would get a front mounted roller blind shutter. This example is built around its focal plane shutter, and probably represents Mr Recker's best take on the tailboard concept. The camera is missing a thin wood bridge piece, which fills the gap between the stereo lens boards. Removing the stereo pair and bridge piece would allow for mounting of a mono lens on its own board.

Thornton-Pickard Royal Ruby Stereo

Thornton-Pickard "Royal Ruby"

Thornton Pickard Royal Ruby label

At a time when the sun never set on the British Empire, Thornton-Pickard presented their "Royal Ruby." Can't get much more emphatic than that. And the camera lives up to its billing. Lavish woods and a forest of brass adorn every inch of this piece. As indicated by the Triple Extension on the label, the camera was also intended to be the most flexible in its uses. Arguably, the camera is more famous today for its poses in front of other cameras. The glass with this set is all Taylor Hobson. The big mono lens is a Cooke Series III, the stereo pair, interestingly, appear to have been re purposed from another camera. Perhaps a camera owner, in trading up from previous equipment, brought along a favorite lens pair. It would take skills well beyond my own to show the beauty of this piece in photos.

J. Reygondaud Stereo Camera

J. Reygondaud

J. Reygondaud Stereo Tailboard Camera

By the latter part of the 19th century a thriving business had evolved for both professional and high quality amateur cameras. The sliding box style had given way to folding cameras with leather bellows such as this (circa 1890) Reygondaud. It has both mono and stereo lens sets mounted on roller blind shutters. The stereo lens pair are Darlots with waterhouse style stops. The mono shutter is by Mattioli. The stereo shutter has a trademark, but I don't know if its Mattioli or someone else. The single lens is a Goerz of most likely later vintage. The accessory view finder is an interesting piece. With the top cover closed, it works as an eye level finder. Open the cover and a mirror drops down internally, making it a waist level finder.

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Goerz Anschutz Stereo

Goerz Anschutz

Another turn of the century bellows type camera was the Goerz Anschutz. Featuring a focal plain shutter, the Goerz uses struts rather than a folding bed. The camera may be used to create 2D panoramas by removing the internal septum and sliding the lenses over so one is centered. After the age of interchangeable lens boards, this was a not uncommon feature prior to WWII. It has a Newtonian action finder on top, or a ground glass could be attached for critical composition and focusing.

Back and Side Views | Instruction Manual

Mackenstein La Francia

Mackenstein La Francia

A delicate French 45 x 107 strut folding design, La Francia folded up into a very small package. It would be carried in a felt pouch and was perfectly suited to be carried in a purse, or coat pocket. Like many of its contemporaries, the shutter is pneumatically controlled, with "slow" (lent), and "fast" (rapide) settings. The aperture control knob on the upper right must have been a production line modification. Whereas labeling on the front plate has been beautifully engraved, markings for the aperture knob are scratched in by hand. Perhaps it came unmarked and an owner later scratched in his own markings. Another oddity of this particular camera is the red leather bellows have been dyed black. This is one of the rare few cameras I think actually looks better in black.

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Gaumont Block Notes Stereo

Gaumont Block Notes Stereo 6 x 13

An interesting strut folding design, the Block Notes is extremely compact when folded. The sliding front panel performs multiple functions. As seen here, the view finder is in place and the shutter cocked. Slide the viewfinder in and the front panel acts as a lens cover. When the viewfinder is slid back out again, it also cocks the shutter. This concept really presages the operation of many modern pocket digital cameras, with a sliding lens cover which also powers on the camera.


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