Stereoscopes, Viewmasters, Nintendo, X-box and More…

Many of us have seen the original stereoscope, although it might have been in a museum. But it’s effect on entertainment, education, and even culture was definite. It’s amazing to think that Underwood & Underwood was producing over 25,000 images a day for the stereoscope. (See the quote below)

stereoscope with view cards from 1880-1910, Sawyer Stereoscope Viewmaster from the 1950s, modern 3D Viewmaster

Claims that there was a stereoscope in every parlor in America came as early as the 1860s (Darrah, 2), but in their second wave of popularity in the 1880s-1910s, the availability of stereographs could be quantified: Underwood & Underwood, one of the three major stereographic companies in this period, produced over 25,000 images per day (Darrah, 47), and an estimated 300 million stereographs were issued between 1854 to 1920 (Wadja, 112). Selling at six for a dollar, most stereographs captured the interest of middle class consumers, but a few companies catered to the working class, providing similar views at 3 cents a piece or 85 cents per 100 (DeLeskie, 69). Found in drugstores, distributed through mail-order catalogs, given away as premiums by cereal and tea companies, and canvassed cross-country by college students (including a young Carl Sandburg), it is no wonder that many scholars consider the stereoscope as the first mass photographic medium prior to cinema or television (see Trachtenberg, Reading, 17).     from

Imagine learning about the wonders of the world, feeling like you were there, as you viewed the scenes in a stereoscope! There was a lot of promise. But, as you know, progress moves on and photographs, movies, and television replaced these viewers. But many saw great promise in connecting humanity at the time!

IN HIS WRITINGS ABOUT the stereoscope, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. was what we would now call a tech-utopian. He declared that the stereoscope would become “the card of introduction to make all mankind acquaintances.”   from

The modern day viewmaster can still be fasinating to young children, although I’m afraid they’re now learning to ‘swipe’ rather than click the change lever. Here’s a link to a great history of our modern day view-masters.

If you’re curious as to how 3D-glasses work today (and in the movies), you may want to check out THIS LINK.

Electronic and Computer Consoles/Games

Then we moved to the beginning of electronic games in the 1970s. Many will remember their first Atari or Nintendo video games. and Sega games. In the 1990s Playstation was introduced along with the original X-Box. These links are all courtesy of Wikipedia.

NOTE: If you saw our FB question, the answer to SEGA is that originally the company provided coin-operated slot machines to U.S. bases that were called “Service Games,” later becoming SEGA! Who knew?

At Bahoukas Antique Mall you’ll be able to find some of the games for the above game stations. Stop in and see if we have one you’ve been looking for.

Atari, Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Playstation and X-box games at Bahoukas Antiques in Havre de Grace, MD

Of course, if you’re a real techie, then you may want to visit the following article on CNET about Virtual Reality, 360 viewing, 3-D, augmented reality and more. ENJOY!