EARLY 3D Entertainment
By: M. Callahan
Early 3D entertainment came in the form of a Stereo Viewer which could be found in countless homes.
Stereoview Cards became popular in the early 1900s. It was an early attempt to create 3-dimensional photographs. A stereoscope viewer was used to view two side-by-side photos mounted on a card. Viewing an image in this fashion gave the illusion of depth. Stereoscopes were once a popular form of entertainment for the whole family, an early form of virtual reality producing highly detailed images that when viewed, produced a highly intense experience. With a stereoscope your entire field of vision is engaged. The result became the strongest persuasive power of any medium of the time.
Boxes filled with themed cards could be purchased at some photographic studios or by mail order from national retailers—-the early version of internet sales. Favorite collections where pictures of foreign parts...the middle east and Egypt especially in the mid 1920’s after the discovery of King Tut’s Tomb. Collections of the American West, the peaks of Yosemite, Niagara Falls and the Hudson River Valley were popular world wide. European views were frequently of famous castles, cathedrals, and ancient landmarks such as the Tower of London. Scenes of the Far East, sites from Paris to Tokyo, the Great War, modern ships and rail, wildlife and of course, fashion were always popular.
With a Stereoviewer you could immerse yourself in the foreign travel your pocketbook would not permit. You could experience foreign cooking techniques in village markets, the horror of war, the beauty and majesty of exotic animals, and the native dress from all over the world. With the stereoviewer, the world became less remote.
Interesting side note: two side-by-side aerial photos mounted on a card were used by map makers and by those seeking information about the change in geographical landmarks, including the military to observe the success of a bombing run.
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