It is neither a country nor a disease, but the set of techniques used to reproduce a perception of the relief from two flat images.

Stereoscopy is currently very popular, although the term is replaced by 3D animation. Because that’s all it is! While 3D cinema is quite recent, stereoscopy dates back to long before this adaptation of the process.

In Lille, for example, it is possible to admire two drawings by Jacopo Chimenti made in the 16th century in order to perceive the relief.

Soon after the invention of photography, the idea of creating relief photography with two images was born.

The stereoscopic device

The first stereoscopic device called a “stereo device” was created in 1849. Its specificity is to bring together the two chambers separated by a vertical median partition. They are very rare because at the time, this type of device was not produced in series. The first stereo device to be truly commercialized dates back to 1893. This is Jules Richard’s Vérascope.

From then on, photographic techniques will evolve over the decades as these cameras create more and more illusion.

Stereoscopic photos are in vogue!

Photos of famous monuments, people or historical moments, these double photos are nowadays very popular with collectors. I must say that they have a certain charm! Well, look at this!

Are you interested in stereoscopy too? Many pictures can be found on Delcampe!

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Written by Héloïse

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  1. Excellent Article; thank you!

  2. To look at some stereoviews of the Alps please visit

  3. These 3D cards were quite popular, you still see them, many people had a viewer so they could see the 3D effect properly. I think you could make a viewer quite easily, most stereo cards were produced in France. Undivided and divided back cards are known, (and cards of nude females!) but not colour, images are black and white. This is one reason for their demise, they were competing with colour cards mostly from Germany. Another reason is that in order to fit 2 images on a postcard, the images are a bit “square”, there is no attractive “tapering off” of the image on either side which you usually see on ordinary view cards. So stereo cards became another casualty of taste in postcards, dying out about 1910.