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R. & J. Beck (Firm)

Achromatic stereoscope.

London : R. & J. Beck, not before 1865.
Physical Description:
1 stereoscope : mahogany, brass, and glass ; in box 22 x 19 x 13 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
TS513 .B43 1865 Flat A
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Three-Dimensional Artifacts
The firm of R. & J. Beck began trading under this name between 1865 and 1867, after the retirement of James Smith from the firm of Smith, Beck & Beck. In the the late 19th and early 20th centuries, R. & J. Beck was a leading manufacturer of optical instruments, including microscopes, stereoscopes, and photographic lenses. See: Hannavy, J. Encyclopedia of nineteenth-century photography.
"A refined version [of the stereoscope patented by Joseph Beck in 1859] was produced with solid sides which inverted into its own box and was sold as the Achromatic Stereoscope in either walnut or mahogany ... The viewer was very effective and consequently became very popular with over 3000 being produced. It was still being advertised in 1890."--Hannavy, J. Encyclopedia of nineteenth-century photography, page 1273.
Restricted fragile material. Use requires permission of the Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts.
Achromatic stereoscope manufactured by R. & J. Beck, on or after 1865. The model number 2910 is inscribed on the brass eye-piece; "R. & J. Beck" is inscribed on the rim of each lens, with "London" on the lens at left and "Cornhill" on the lens at right. Discreet arrows are inscribed on the rim of each lens, to show correct rotational alignment. The body of the stereoscope is made from polished mahogany; brass hardware enables rack and pinion focusing and an adjustable viewing angle. A hinged mirror on the top of the stereoscope allows the viewer to adjust the amount of light on the image. The entire stereoscope apparatus may be inverted into a mahogany box issued with the item; when inverted the base of the stereoscope becomes the lid of the box.
The viewer is designed to be used with stereoscopic photographs, double pictures of the same scene that produce the effect of three-dimensionality when viewed through a stereoscope.
Optical instruments.

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