Stereo Binocular Camera - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Stereo Binocular Camera

Improved Model


W. Watson & Sons



Image of Stereo Binocular Camera Improved Model

6 cm rapid rectilinear, fixed aperture.

Cylindrical, spring powered and regulated, speeds 1/15, 1/80, T.

Leather covered metal body.

12, 5" x 2" plates held in push-pull changing magazine.


View-finder consisting of a right-angle prism.

10 plate holders. Case.

First produced as Le Physiographe and patented by Leon Bloch, the camera in Britain was sold by Watson & Sons. Watson did not start to sell the camera until the late 1890s, some years after the patent was taken out.

The first models were fitted with changing bags. The 'objective' end hinged open to reveal the bag. The eye-pieces were mounted on extended tubes with a dummy focusing wheel between them. A manually operated exposure counter was fitted to one of the eye-pieces. The changing box was removable as on later models but was secured by only one screw.

An improved model was introduced by Watson in 1900. The body was much the same, though two screws held the changing box instead of one. The bag type changing box was replaced by a push-pull type. The 'eye-piece' arrangement was much simpler - the two eye-piece flanges were mounted on short chrome-finish tubes. This gave a less binocular-like appearance but must have been cheaper to produce. The frame counter was moved to the changing box. Both models were available with either rapid rectilinear or Zeiss lenses. The camera cost £11.10.0 with rapid rectilinear lenses and was advertised until around World War I. A binocular camera for mono exposures and a monocular, also for mono exposures were also produced.

Later a model for 45 x 107 mm plates was sold by Watson. This had a slightly re-styled body and used a coiled spring to power the shutter rather than a flat spring on earlier models. The plates were held in single metal slides or a changing box.

References & Notes:
BP 21755/1896. BJA 1900, pp. 915, 1131. BJA 1901, pp. 934, 1144. BJA 1902, p. 1165. BJA 1905, p. 1190. BJA 1910, p. 927. YBP 1901, p. 540.

Sotheby Cat. 20/3/1981 lot 183. Early Le Physiographe. Christie's Cat. 17/1/1997 lots 427, 426. An early model and a small model with a grained leather finish. Christie's Cat. 19/9/1991 lot 440. 5 x 12 cm model, grained leather finish.

Company Details:

Watson & Sons

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