Platoscope

The Platoscope is a basic stereocamera that was made by an unknown manufacturer and sold by Photo-Plait. The camera was introduced during the First World War as a “sensational novelty”[1]. With its products and services, Photo-Plait focused on the soldiers at the front. The Platoscope was promoted with the slogan “for the soldier and the beginner in photography”. After the war it was promoted as a “beginner’s camera”[2].

Platoscope in the Photo-Plait catalog from 1917
First appearance of the Platoscope in the 1917 Photo-Plait catalog

The camera has similarities with Jules Richard’s Glyphoscope, but misses the features to use it as a stereoscope. The camera supports 45x107mm glass plate negatives but there was also a model that could be charged with film. It was purchased with six plate holders and weighed 275 grams[1], much less than the weight of the Glyphoscope Model 1 (430 grams)[3]. It’s unknown how popular this camera was with soldiers, but its compact shape and weight made it very easy to fit in a soldiers’ backpack.

Platoscope by Photo-Plait

The camera supports three aperture settings, five shutter speeds and has a fold-out crosshair viewfinder. The shutter is in working condition. Serial number 11083 and the name Le Platoscope Paris are engraved on the front panel.

References

  1. Catalogue Général, Photo-Plait, April 1917. p.24-25
  2. Catalogue Général, Photo-Plait, Autumn 1919. p.44
  3. Introduction pour l’emploi du Glyphoscope, Jules Richard. p.3
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