Clairvoyant - Antique and Vintage Cameras



Image of Clairvoyant

Simple stereo viewer sold in a box labelled 'Stereoscopic Treasury'. A hinged flap at the back of the viewer lifts allowing a card to be inserted, the card is held in place by the flap which is then horizontal. There is no septum.


  • Stereoscopic Treasury box.
  • International Exhibition 1862. London Stereoscopic Co., London. Nos. 21, 33, 66, 106, 113, 122, 131, 150, 151, 152, 168, 258, 262.
  • G.W. Wilson. Nos. 32A, 140, 349, 440, 458, 464, 599, 745.
  • North Wales Illustrated. Francis Bedford. No. 2156.
  • Stereoscopic Series of English Scenery. Samuel Poulton, London. Waverley Abbey South.
  • J. Stuart, London. Nos. 474, 477.
  • F.G.O. Stuart, London. 2 cards.
  • Archibald Burns, Edinburgh. 2 cards.
  • W.P. Glaisby, York. No. 3 (No. 43).
  • J. Collier, Inverness. 1 card.
  • A. Crowe, Stirling. 1 card.
  • Lake District. 6 cards.
  • Crystal Palace. Nos. 1, 38.
  • 14 other cards.

The Clairvoyant was designed by Henry Swan and patented in 1858. The patent mentions the two halves of the stereoscope being connected by rods, the lens panel slides on the rods to vary the separation. Also mentioned in the patent is the use of ribbed glass or other translucent material used as 'the partition', if this refers to the dividing piece positioned at right-angles to the eyepiece panel then it is not present on the Clairvoyant, there is ribbed glass between the two lenses. The viewer was stored in a domed box labelled Stereoscopic Treasury.

The viewer was sold by the publisher and book seller A.W. Bennett of Bishopsgate Without, London, this is the same address as Swan gives in the patent for the stereoscope.

References & Notes:
BP 2644/1858. Wing, Stereoscopes: The First One Hundred Years, p. 33.

Further Information:
Henry Swan was later with the Casket Portrait Co at 40 Charing Cross Road.

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