Mattey revolving stereoscope

The Mattey revolving stereoscope is a beautiful early 20th century deluxe rotary viewer, built by A. Mattey from Paris. This multiple-view device supports paper and glass stereo views in both 45x107mm and 6x13cm formats.

Mattey revolving stereoscope

The stereoscope is a revolving chain type model. This type was popular until the end of the 19th century but were still offered for sale in a catalog of Mattey from 1936. This model was introduced around 1902. It appears in an advertisement in the Photo Gazette of 25 September 1902 where it’s presented as a new model for the formats 6x13cm, 7x13cm and 8,5x17cm. The stereoscope contains the logo 8&9, one of trademarks of Mattey.

The viewer in this post is a deluxe edition with a walnut finish. It’s suitable for viewing paper and glass stereoviews. The formats 6x13cm and 45x107mm are both supported. To fit the 45x107mm slides, they must be placed in a wooden frame. The device contains serial number 913.

The slides are placed in metal holders that are attached to a chain. There’s room for 50 slides. The chain will bring a new slide into position by turning the two large knobs on both sides of the device. The device can be locked with a little key to prevent access to the slides. The unit with chain and holders can be removed from the wooden cabinet. This makes it easier to replace the slides and it was an improvement over earlier models. Extra units were available to change whole collections of stereoviews.

Mattey revolving stereoscope
chain with holders removed

Nevertheless, it’s a bit of a hassle to place the slides into the holders and caution is needed because the holders can easily scratch the glass slides.

The two eyepieces on the front panel can be focused. An opaque glass window at the rear illuminates the glass slides. The top is a lid which must be opened to illuminate paper views.

Panajou Frères

The stereoscope has a plaque on top with the inscription Panajou Frères. It’s a photography store in Bordeaux. The store was founded in 1865 by the brothers Fernand and Rémi Panajou. In 1899 they moved to 50, Allées de Tourny. The company is still in business and still located at the same address. Panajou Frères is the oldest photography store in France [3].

Invoice from Panajou Frères
Invoice from Panajou Frères


  1. Mattey catalog from 1936
  2. Stereoscopes: the first one hundred years, Paul Wing, 1996
  3. Panajou – La maison de la photography
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