India Through the Stereoscope

A journey through Hindustan conducted by James Ricalton and published by Underwood & Underwood A collection of stereographic silver printing-out-paper prints, mounted on stereocards with descriptive text and captions printed on card, in a two-volume cloth-covered book-form box What is stereoscopy? ‘Stereoscopy’ derives from the Greek stereos meaning ‘firm’ or ‘solid’ and skopeō meaning ‘to look’ or ‘to see’ = seeing something firm, solid, three-dimensional or 3D. It may surprise you, but the first 3D images pre-date photography. The English scientist, Sir Charles Wheatstone presented his stereoscopic viewer in 1838, which could be used to look at drawings or engravings in 3D. This was before photographic processes, such as the dageurreo type or the calotype, were introduced (from 1839) and much earlier than 3D film. A patent for a 3D moving image was filed in the late 19th century, but it was not until the first quarter of the 20th century that 3D films or movies were publicly available. So, from the first half of the 19th century, people were looking at three-dimensional images, using the stereoscope.