Le Phénix is by far the rarest of all Bize’s viewers and a very rare stereoscope in general. The stereoscope was presented as a novelty in 1908, together with Le Minimus and Le Multiphote. It was announced as Le Phœnix and presented as a revolving stereoscope with an interchangeable belt for 48 slides in the 45 x 107 mm format. In a later advertisement, it was called Le Phénix, and it supported 60 slides. There was also a 6 x 13 cm model.
The viewer might be the most compact revolving stereoscope ever made. Le Phénix contains a belt with wooden locks in which detachable metal holders with stereoviews can be placed. The belt hangs on a metal bar. Turning the knobs on the bar will rotate the belt and display the images one by one. The belt contains a handle to lift it from the device. After the left knob is loosened, the bar can be pulled out of the device, and the belt can be exchanged for a new one. At the back, a fold-out mirror can be used to direct the light and illuminate the images.
|Gustave Jacob, Lucien Bize, Robert Pleyau
|Year of introduction:
|Year of manufacture:
|Glass / Paper
|45 x 107 mm
|Number of slides:
|Dimensions (L x W x H):
|18.5 x 18.5 x 36 cm
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