Hemdé Série I

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The Hemdé Serie I is a tray-based multi-view stereoscope for 45 x 107 mm glass stereoviews. Most information about the Hemdé stereoscopes can be obtained from Notice et prix courants des stéréoscopes classeurs “Hemdé”, published in April 1914. This booklet contains a catalogue, a user manual and a price list. The first page describes the company’s stereoscopes:

High precision instrument, with a simple and irreproachable mechanism, it has all the improvements of its counterparts in addition to serious advantages. It is distinguished from other similar devices as much by its extreme simplicity as by the robustness of its parts and its absolutely unbreakable mechanism which is protected from dust and humidity.

The company only offered stereoscopes that were based on their patented mechanism. Three models of the Hemdé stereoscope were available, in waxed walnut or polished mahogany:

  • Série I was intended for the 45 x 107 mm stereoview format and featured a wooden cabinet for storing up to 12 trays with 300 slides.
  • Série II was available for the formats 6 x 13 cm, 7 x 15 cm, 9 x 14 cm, 10 x 15 cm and 8.5 x 17 cm. It also included a cabinet for up to 200 glass slides. 
  • Série III was available for all supported formats but lacked a cabinet. Wooden cabinets could be purchased separately.

The support for the formats 7 x 15 cm, 9 x 14 cm and 10 x 15 cm was remarkable because these were rare stereo formats. Perhaps the company filled a need here where most other manufacturers left a gap (except for Mattey). Another feature was the use of wooden slide trays, which differed from the more common bakelite or metal trays used by most other manufacturers. Special trays for thicker autochrome were available and the manufacturer offered furniture for placing the stereoscope at eye level, storage furniture for large quantities of trays, lamps for illuminating autochromes and projection equipment for using the stereoscope as a projecting device.

The glass slides are placed in a tray, which is placed into the device. A half-turn of the crank lifts a slide from the slide-tray and places it in front of the lenses. Another half turn places the slide back and moves the tray to select the next slide. The mechanism is bidirectional, which means that slides can be browsed forwards and backwards. Pressing a small crank on the counter allows for free navigation through the slides.


Manufacturer:Hemdé / Sorel
Hem (until 1910), Lille (from 1910)
Year of introduction:1907
Year of manufacture:1907–1910
Bidirectional navigation:Yes
Serial number:None
Stereoview support:Glass
Stereoview format:45 x 107 mm
Number of slides:25
Lens focussing:Yes
Inter-ocular adjustment:Yes
Eyepiece blinders:Yes
Dimensions (L x W x H):29 x 29.5 x 40 cm
Other features:Cabinet for 12 slide trays (300 slides)
Metal plate with Stéréo-Hemdé – Breveté S.G.D.G
Round metal plate with Hemdé
No plate with the name Sorel, so this viewer must be manufactured before the acquisition of Hemdé by Sorel in 1910.


Title:Vis perfectionnée
Filing date:22-07-1907
Publishing date:29-11-1907
Applicant(s):Émile Cuny, Paul Sorel, Maurice Delécaille

Hemdé was a trademark for photography accessories and stereoscopes. The name was composed of the company’s location in Hem, near Lille in northern France, and letters from the surname of the founder, Maurice Delécaille. Delécaille patented a design for a stereoscope mechanism in 1907, together with Émile Cuny and Paul Sorel. Sorel became the second director of Delécaille’s company, which was renamed to Societé Delécaille et Sorel. Sorel continued the company alone from 1910, and moved from Hem to Lille. Sorel died in 1913, and the business activities that were linked to the Hemdé brand were continued by Sorel’s widow. Lille was occupied during the First World War, but the company of Sorel’s widow survived the war or was revived.
The complete story of Hemdé


  1. Cuny, E., Sorel, P. and Delécaille, M. (1907) Vis perfectionnée. Via: data.inpi.fr  ↩︎