Stereoptics > Stereoscope Viewers
Stereoscope Stereo Viewer - H.C. White - All Wood - ca. 1895
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Stereoscope Stereo Viewer - H.C. White - All Wood - ca. 1895
Stereoscope Stereo Viewer - H.C. White - All Wood - ca. 1895
Stereoscope Stereo Viewer - H.C. White - All Wood - ca. 1895
Stereoscope Stereo Viewer - H.C. White - All Wood - ca. 1895
Stereoscope Stereo Viewer - H.C. White - All Wood - ca. 1895
Stereoscope Stereo Viewer - H.C. White - All Wood - ca. 1895


About Stereoscopes: In the late 1800's, and continuing well into the early 1900's, the Stereoscope or Stereopticon, provided great family entertainment. They were actually the forerunner of the ViewMaster and reels that many of us grew up with. Everything from travel slides, museum pictures, military photos, multi-slide scenarios, and religious depictions were made into Stereoviews and offered for sale.

The wonderment of the stereoviews over the plain postcard or photograph came from the two photos, taken at just slightly different angles (sometimes with two side by side cameras). Then, these photos were mounted side by side and viewed through the two lenses of the viewer, giving the effect of what the right eye and left eye would actually see in real life. Because the stereoscope viewer provided a dark environment, no peripheral vision was possible and the eyes were encouraged to focus only on the images in front them. The result was that uncanny feeling that you were "actually there". Travel became possible for anyone, from their own parlor!!

This Stereoscope Viewer: Hawley C. White began producing and selling stereoscopes, stereoviews and lenses in New York, as early as 1868, at the age of 21. In 1874 he moved his company to North Bennington Vermont, the town where he was born. After his factory burned, he rebuilt another one twice as large and went on to become undoubtedly the largest producer of stereoscopes in the world. His company was issued a total of 16 patents for various parts, hardware etc. for stereoptics, and ended up producing items and parts for numerous smaller companies and retailers. H.C. White handle mechanisms and brackets appear on a number of viewers bearing other brand names. In 1900 he began making the metal hooded models and was awarded a prize at the Paris World's Fair.

This stereoscope viewer measures 13" in length, 5-1/4" across the lens hood, and the card slide is 7" wide. This is a typical all wood construction for H.C. White's early viewers, prior to 1900. Having examined these all-wood types, which required the bending and shaping of the thin layers of wood veneer to form the hood, it is easy to see why the aluminum hooded models would be easier to produce. This particular model we believe was produced about 1895, and the beautifully grained curved wood hood is nicely shaped and held onto the frame with what appear to be brass rivets. The edges of the wood are incredibly smooth, and I am wondering if it ever had the felt tape we find on most viewers. There is no trace that it did.

The frame is marked, H.C. White Co. Makers Stereoscopes & Stereographs North Bennington, VT USA. No patent dates are listed on this piece and the friction hinge resembles those found on models after 1883, but slightly different from the later version after 1900. Our estimates regarding all of our stereoscopes vintage is based strictly on our research. We are not experts, only collectors with a fascination for history.

This piece of history is in very nice, useable and displayable condition. If you examine the pictures you will see a small indentation along the top edge on one side of the hood. It appears that a very small edge of the veneer is gone from that spot. If there was ever felt tape edging, it is no longer present. The hood, frame and hardware are otherwise in good condition. The lenses are very nice and clear and the handle hinge is secure and stable. I will leave any polishing to the purchaser. How these viewers managed to survive for well over 100 years is amazing, and we are pleased to be able to offer these for the current generations to remember and enjoy.

We have both Stereoscopes and a number of Stereoviews (the official name for the picture slides) offered on our site, and will be adding many more views. If you are looking for a certain category, please inquire by clicking on our Contact tab.

I try to describe the items on this site as accurately as possible; however, due to their age, they are sold in "as is" condition. Please contact us with any questions, or to request additional pictures, or contribute further information, by using the Contact tab on our Home page.
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