For sale, a Late Victorian French tabletop revolving stereoscope by A Mattey, Paris.
Comprised of a beautiful walnut two part body raised on small feet with a skirted base and a decorative cast iron hinged handle with floral motifs to each side. Two large ebonised wooden handles are also provided either side for changing the slides within the viewer and a pair of smaller Bakelite knobs above which provide focus adjustment for the two eyepieces to the front of the instrument.
The reserve of the stereoscope has an opaque glass panel to allow the ingress of light for the illumination of glass slides and the top section is equipped with two doors which can be opened for use in conjunction with paper slides. The front section being provided with a mirror to direct light into the instrument and the back one stamped with a serial number 1234, Mattey’s trademark of 8&9 within a lozenge and the words Brevete denoting the patent for the instrument.
The interior of the stereoscope is accessed by means of a hinged top section to the body. It opens to reveal an ingenious chain driven cassette which allows the loading of fifty slides into specially designed metal holders. The slides are revolved around the cassette by means of the ebonised handles mentioned above. The design was both a means to avoiding having to replace slides after each view as is the case in other conventional viewers and the ability to lift the cassette from the stereoscope of course provided easier access for the user to change the slides when required.
The cassette is also stamped with the same marking as the top lid of the main body.
A Mattey was a highly renowned maker of stereoscopes, the company was founded in 1872 Albert Mattey. Little detail is available about either the individual or the organisation but the company enjoyed at least sixty years of continuous trading. I suspect that the Second World War and of course the rapid development of the camera during the early Twentieth Century was the reason for their eventual demise. The 8&9 branding seen on this instrument was reserved purely for the revolving stereoscope that were produced by Mattey and alternative trademarks such as Unis France were known to have been applied for other products within their range.
A lovely example, this stereoscope remains in good working order and is filled with a number of differing slides. Some English and some French which seems to date from around the time of the First World War givent the military subject matter.