Did You Know The History Of A Stereoscope?

History of Photography: Stereoscopic Photography

Back in the time when television, digital cameras, and cinemas were nowhere in the picture stereographs came on the market. More appropriately known as a stereoscope, it was a device used to generate a 3D view of a subject. It was aimed at giving you an experience as if you were there. The working principle behind a stereoscope is fascinating even if you hear it today. A stereoscope in order to generate a 3d stereogram the device featured two images. One image was meant for the left eye and another for the right. When the device was switched on it combined the two flat images into one giving an illusionary depth to the image.  

It employed the same principle with which a human eye works. Since both our eyes are two inches apart, we see everything from two different angles. However, the human brain interprets the picture as one that has dimension and spatial depth. Far before from the time when a stereoscope was launched, a par was published by Charles Wheatstone in 1838, explaining the principle behind a stereoscope. As we can see, it took a lot many years to  manufacture the first device.  It was the first step taken by the human race into viewing something in 3D.  

Let us try to know more about the evolution of photography right from the type the concept of stereography was invented. During the 1830s on the other side of the world, scientists were working on a permanent photography creation using silver salts that were light sensitive. They were also working on a camera type device that could obtain optical images. It took a lot many years to achieve some amount of commercial success in the type of device experts were trying to make. It was the period between 1840s-50s when the desired precision in imagery was achieved.

However, there were still many  disadvantages to it such as the cost was very high and there was no scope for making multiple copies of  an image.  At the same time, Fox Talbot started using wax paper negatives for imagery which enabled us for making copies of a single image. The drawback with this type of photograph was its soft focus. Later when photography started to enter a commercial realm, it was realized that Whetstone’s device could be used for the purpose. The technique of photography then was to take a picture then move some inches and take another picture. 

Later, there was the invention of devices which took two images from different angles simultaneously on its own. It was in between 1850s-60s when the cartes-de-visite along with the stereoscopic views popularized photography among ordinary people. Several companies such as Underwood and Underwood started manufacturing stereoscopic cameras. This revolutionized the thought of taking a permanent picture of whatever you desired. Several other devices also emerged in the market with small variations. It gained tremendous popularity among middle-class people. Slowly cost-effective devices also entered the market making it even more popular.

Read Also : What Is Stereoscopic Photography?

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