Modern History
Early 20th century
wood, ebonite, metal, glass
molding, lacquering, molding, assembling, encrusting
H = 48 cm; top width = 24 cm; base width = 28 cm


    Text: Cornel ILIE / Photo: Marius Amarie

    Cherry solid wood carcass; inside, there is the (metal) mechanism for exposing and visualizing the photography clichés; on the exterior, there are several systems for the operation of the photography exposure mechanism (metal handle, ring chain), a binocular device for visualizing (allowing to adjust the intra-pupil distance by means of a handle and a scale, and the distance towards the exposed images, by using some laterally placed adjusting buttons), an adjustable disc for selecting the level of the clichés that were going to be watched.

    On one of the sides, there is a glass window through which light was getting inside. In the lower part of the carcass, which is wider than the upper one, there are three ebonite drawers, in which the clichés are stored (each drawer has four compartments, which could contain 25 clichés of 45 x 107 mm each). On the edge of the ebonite boxes containing the clichés, the inventor’s name and his city are mentioned: J. Richard – Constructeur – Paris. On the front side, there are three informative ebonite plates. On the upper plate, there is the manufacturer’s address: Le taxiphote Stereo-Classeur Distributeur automatique Brevete S.G.D.G. Rue Halèvy, 10 et Rue Melerbeer, 7 Usine: 25, Rue Melingue – Paris.

    On the second plate, there is the address of the shop where it was exhibited: Economu & Zlatko Bucharest –4, Șelari Street On the third one, there are the instructions for use: Functionement 1o Lecture des indications des vues: Tirrer l`anneau de gauche et regarder avec l`œil droit. (Read the instructions for visualization. Pull the left ring and watch the image with your right eye). 2o Changement des plaques: Appuyer sur le grad levier de droite et le laisser remonter doucement. Le coup de timbre annonce la dernière vue. (Changing the plates. Press the big handle on the right and gently move it. The tinkling sound marks the last image to be visualized.) 3o Ramener a la première plaque: Maintenir baissé le grand levier de droite et tourner le bouton à aiguille jusqu`au No. 1. En s`arrétant sur un numero quelconque, la plaque correspondante apparaitra. (Getting back to the first plate. Keep pressing the big handle on the right side and rotate the indicator up to position No. 1. If it stops at a random number, the plate in question is revealed).

    Stereoscopic photography

    Stereoscopy. Definition: a branch of optics that studies three-dimensional vision, as well as the stereoscopic methods and instruments. A method of recording and rendering image, which allows the three-dimensional reconstruction of the photographed or filmed subject. The principles of stereoscopy were formulated as early as 1832 by the English physicist Sir Charles Wheatmore. Stereoscopic photography appeared immediately after the invention of the photographic procedure. By means of some simple devices – the stereoscopes – the stereograms allowed the viewer to see the three-dimensional image of the photographed subject. This type of photography enjoyed a great success during the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

    Stereoscopes also evolved, from the simple ones, in which only one cliché (namely a pair of “twin” images) could be introduced, up to more complicated systems, which could store tens or hundreds of images and could allow the automatic exposure of a great number of stereograms. Stereoscopic photography is based on the principle according to which, if two photographs are taken from approximately the same position (taking into account the intra-pupil distance, which is of 6.5 cm), the two bi-dimensional images will merge into a three-dimensional one, if they are viewed in such a way that either eye could see the image that is suitable for it. Jules Richard patented the first device for making stereograms, named “Verascope”, in 1893. A few years later, in 1899, he also patented the first model for the visualization of stereograms, “Taxiphote”, which, due to its subsequent developments, was going to be popular up to the 1930s. Richard introduced his own format for the stereoscopic clichés – 45 x 107 mm, which allowed making the device more compact and easier to carry.

    Taxiphote had a simple, but efficient mechanism, by means of which the stereogram was brought into the field of vision, then it was put back into its case in the right compartment, from where another cliché was automatically selected. Jules Richard (1848 – 1930) Félix Richard’s son, a manufacturer of optical and measuring instruments and the nephew of Gustave Froment, a well-known manufacturer of electrical instruments, Jules continued his father’s business, proving to have the qualities of a businessman and inventor. Together with his engineers, he designed many instruments: barometers, thermometers, chronographs, dynamometers etc. and focused on a field in full development, photography, granting a lot of importance to stereoscopic photography. He patented the Verascope, the best-selling stereoscope of the period (over 52000 pieces). Richard had a passion for women and for nude photography. Near his house in Paris, he built an Atrium, where he took many pictures to the young women who posed as goddesses, nymphs, etc.