Staff Pick Video: Stereographoscope

Watch Education and Marketing Coordinator, Melissa, as she describes her artifact pick: a stereographoscope from the Regional Collection.

Stereographoscope on a small table next to cards and lamp

The stereographoscope was a very popular household item in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1900 it is estimated that every household would have had a stereoscope.

Top view of the stereographoscope, which shows the three lenses used for viewing images

The bottom section with two lenses is the stereoscope, used for viewing 3D images. The larger lense on the top is the graphoscope, which is a magnifying glass set into the wooden frame to enhance images such as cartes de visite.


The top of the stereographoscope lifts up into viewing position, which allows a card or small early photograph to be inserted below the glass for viewing.

Cards depicting landscape images that are duplicated on left and right for use in a stereoscope

Cards with two images were used in the stereographoscope to give the illusion of a 3D image. These duplicated images are designed to be seen individually by the left and right eye, producing the visual effect that makes them appear to be 3D.
1960s ViewMaster
Image by: ThePassenger via Wikimedia Commons
Remember View-Master? This popular image-viewer uses the same technology and is a more modern type of stereoscope.