The story of Bazin, Leroy and Guérin

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Charles Dessoudeix was a watchmaker. Dessoudeix’s company was founded in 1872, and located at 47, Rue du Rocher in Paris. In 1883, he helped Albert Londe with the development of a camera shutter. A year later, they presented their first shutter, branded Londe & Dessoudeix. Dessoudeix’s company was continued by Charles Bazin in 1891. Bazin partnered with Lucien Leroy, and together they introduced in 1897 Le Stéréocycle, an innovative stereo camera that became very successful. Two years after the introduction, 2,000 cameras were sold – a great achievement for that time. Bazin left the company in 1899, and Leroy succeeded him. The company presented in 1903 Le Stéréo-Panoramique, another successful camera that could capture both stereo photos and panorama photos. Leroy had a clear preference for the larger 6 x 13 cm stereo format, instead of the popular 45 x 107 mm format that was introduced by Jules Richard in 1893. Leroy states in his 1913 catalogue:

On the other hand, the 45 x 107 format requires a stereoscope equipped with very short focus eyepieces in order to give sufficient magnification, and eye fatigue is experienced. It has been recognised (and this is the main pitfall) that the 45 x 107 stereoview, requires high magnification by the stereoscope, which reveals all the little plate imperfections, holes, pitting and dust. With medium magnification, these imperfections are not visible.

Finally, on the subject of colour photography, the special plates of which have a rather coarse grain, due to the emulsion, the 45 x 107 is no longer satisfying because of the magnification of the stereoscope, whereas with the 6 x 13 format the results are irreproachable.

For more than 20 years, the main focus was the manufacturing of Le Stéréocycle and Le Stéréo-Panoramique. The firm offered stereoscopes that were manufactured by Hemdé and Mattey to complement the company’s product range and satisfy its customers. A special revolving stereoscope, named Stéréo-Monocle, could be used to view both stereoviews and panoramic photos. The viewer was listed as “Système L. Leroy”, and was probably designed especially to support the Stéréo-Panoramique camera. However, this stereoscope was manufactured by Mattey.

Leroy partnered with Emile Guérin in 1916. Guérin took over the company in 1919 or 1920 and moved to 109, Rue du Bac in Paris. Guérin introduced new products to the company’s product line. The stereo camera Le Minimus was introduced in 1920, and a year later, a compact tray-based multiple-view stereoscope was presented. Leroy was probably no longer involved in the development, but the new products continued to be introduced under the name Leroy. This is proof of Leroy’s strong reputation in France.