Le Minimus is a multiple-view stereoscope without an advanced mechanism. Le Minimus can hold 24 glass slides which are placed in the top section of the stereoscope. Turning the knobs moves the front panel with the lenses outward from the device, and a slide falls down and is positioned in front of the lenses. Turning the knobs further will drop the slide into a slot in the storage compartment at the bottom of the device. When all slides are viewed, the device is inverted, and the slides fall back into their original position. A more detailed description of the operation was published in the Photo-Gazette in 19081:
After the so-called “American” stereoscope, with a chain, we made filing devices equipped with a very ingenious mechanism which makes it possible to automatically place, in front of the eyepieces, the view we have chosen. The “Minimus” proceeds from the same principle, but it eliminates any mechanism. It is essentially made up of grooved boxes, in which twenty-four plates are stored; they are placed upside down, that is to say upside down, because these boxes do not fit directly into the device, but serve as chargers. We remove the lid of the device and put one of the boxes upside down in its place; all the shots it contains fall into corresponding grooves. Then replace the lid and the appliance is ready to use. Now just turn the button on the side a small amount so that one of the shots slides from the magazine in front of the lenses; when we have examined it, we will turn the knob again and the plate will fall into the grooved magazine, placed below; another shot will take its place in front of the eyepieces and so on until the upper magazine is exhausted. To put the plates back in position, turn the device completely upside down, and turn the knob in the opposite direction to fully retract the drawer. Then, if we want to replace the clichés in the device with others, we will remove the cover, replace it with an empty box and return the device; all the clichés will then take their place in the grooves of the empty box; when it has thus filled, we will only have to lift the device to be able to remove it and replace it with a full one, in which new clichés will be, as we said at the beginning, stored upside down. By turning the device over where the box is held by hooks, it fulfils its role as a charger and the device is ready to operate again with a new series of shots.
|Lucien Bize, Robert Pleyau
|Year of introduction:
|Year of manufacture:
|45 x 107 mm
|Number of slides:
|Dimensions (L x W x H):
|15 x 12 x 17 cm
|Name plate Le Minimus Stéréo-Auto-Classeur.
Retailer plate Photo Bachelier Épinal.
|Lucien Albert Bize, Simeon-Louis Claparède
Source: data.inpi.fr (public domain)
Lucien Albert Bize (1866–?) designed a range of innovative and compact stereoscopes in the early 20th century in France. Many names were associated with the manufacturing of his designs. In 1902, Bize patented his first stereoscope design for the detachable hand-held stereoscope that was marketed under the name L’Omnium. His early stereoscope designs were manufactured by Maison Gustave Jacob at 22, Rue Oberkampf in Paris. After Jacob’s bankruptcy in 1911, Bize continued the manufacturing of stereoscopes at 69, Rue Oberkampf.
On 1 January 1913, Bize sold his company to Robert Pleyau. Bize’s last patent was filed in 1912. Pleyau sold a part of his business activities to La Société E. Brose et Cie in 1917, but he remained active as an entrepreneur at 69, Rue Oberkampf. It is unclear if Pleyau sold the business activities that were related to stereoscopes, but it seems that the manufacturing of Bize’s stereoscopes ended during the First World War.
The complete story of Lucien Bize