invented around the Civil War Era
At one time, most French and English homes had a
round table in the parlor, on which was usually a Bible and
several other novelty items. These novelty items were
usually optical toys like graphoscopes.
Graphoscopes were produced around the same
time as many stereoscopes. They were extended to accomodate
stereographic views; an example is the Holmes stereo
viewer. This device was taller and allowed people to see
stereographic views, but it was essentially of the same design as
graphoscopes. People could view any small pictures with
the graphoscope--works of art, photographs, and postcards.
How it works:
The graphoscope had many things in common with
magnifying glasses. It was usually composed of a single lens
that served to magnify whatever small picture was placed on the
easel. Later versions, called stereographoscopes, had two or three lenses
and allowed people to see stereographic views.
Interview with Dr. Ralph Wileman, July 24, 2000
Interview with Mr. Phil Condax, August 7, 2000