Mattey revolving stereoscope

The Mattey revolving stereoscope is an early 20th century deluxe rotary viewer, built by Stéréoscopes A. Mattey from Paris. The viewer supports paper and glass stereoviews in the formats 45x107mm and 6x13cm.

Mattey revolving stereoscope

The stereoscope is a revolving chain type model, based on a patent from 1857 by Alexander Beckers from New York[1]. This type was particular popular until the end of the 19th century but was still offered in Mattey’s 1936 catalog[2].

This design was presented by Mattey in 1902 as novelty with models for the formats 6x13cm, 7x13cm and 8,5x17cm[3]. The stereoscope contains the logo 8&9, one of Mattey’s trademarks[2], and has the serial number 913. The viewer is a deluxe edition with a burr walnut finish.

The images are placed in metal holders that are attached to a chain. The chain can hold up to 50 images. It will bring a new image into position by turning two large knobs on both sides of the device. 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. To fit the smaller 45x107mm slides, they must be placed in a wooden frame first.

Mattey revolving stereoscope
Chain with holders removed from the device

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 glass slides.

The two eyepieces on the front panel can be focused but the distance between the lenses is not adjustable. An opaque glass window at the rear illuminates the glass slides. The top is a lid which must be opened to illuminate paper card stereoviews.

Panajou Frères

The stereoscope has a plaque on top with the inscription Panajou Frères, which refers to a photography store in Bordeaux. The store was founded in 1865 by the brothers Fernand and Rémi Panajou. In 1899 they moved to Allées de Tourny 50. The company is still in business today and still located at the same address. Panajou Frères is the oldest photography store in France[4].

Invoice from Panajou Frères
Invoice from Panajou Frères


  1. Wing, Paul, Stereoscopes – the first one hundred years, 1996, p.61
  2. Stereoscopes, Stéréoscopes A. Mattey, 1936
  3. Dernière nouveauté stéréoscopes Américains, Photo-gazette, 25 September 1902 – via
  4. Panajou – La maison de la photography
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