Stéréoscope Américain à chaîne interchangeable

Home » Stereoscopes » Chain-based stereoscopes » Stéréoscope Américain à chaîne interchangeable

Le Stéréoscope Américain à chaînes interchangeable is a chain-based stereoscope with an interchangeable chain unit. The interchangeable chain was an invention of Maison Legendre1, one of the companies acquired by Mattey. After the acquisition, Legendre’s invention was patented by Mattey in 1902. The interchangeable unit was an improvement over earlier models and made it easier to replace the slides or to keep multiple 50-slide collections. The slides are placed in metal holders that are attached to a revolving chain. The mechanism will bring a new image into position by turning two large knobs on both sides of the device. The unit with the chain and holders can be removed from the wooden housing. Because the chain-based revolving stereoscopes were based on a patent of Alexander Beckers from New York, they were known in France as “American stereoscopes”.

The stereoscope contains a label of Panajou Frères. This photography store was established in 1865 by the brothers Fernand and Rémi Panajou in Bordeaux. They moved to 50, Allées de Tourny in 18992, where the company is still located today. Panajou Frères is the oldest photography store in France.


Year of introduction:1902
Year of manufacture:1902–c. 1940
Bidirectional navigation:Yes
Serial number:None
Stereoview support:Glass and paper
Stereoview format:6 x 13 cm
Number of slides:50
Lens focussing:Yes
Inter-ocular adjustment:No
Eyepiece blinders:No
Dimensions (L x W x H):20 x 20.5 x 43 cm
Construction:Burr walnut
Other features:
  • Mattey’s trademark 8&9 is visible on the inside of the hinged lid and on the interchangeable holder.
  • A plate on the front of stereoview Panajou Frères
  • The stereoscopes was acquired with small wooden frames to support 45 x 107 mm stereoviews.


Title:Chaine porte-plaques et son dispositif de commande, pour appareils stéréoscopiques
Filing date:26-07-1902
Publishing date:02-03-1903
Applicant(s):Mattey père et fils

Mattey was one of the leading manufacturers of stereoscopes in France. The company offered the widest range of stereoscopes of all manufacturers. The company was founded in 1872, but its expansion began with the establishment of Société Mattey père et fils on 31 December 1902. The names behind the company were André Élie Victor Mattey (1844–1919), and his son Albert Georges Mattey (1873–1940). Mattey’s business grew through acquisitions. The most important was the acquisition of Maison Legendre in 1902, which set the foundation for Mattey’s stereoscope business.

Société Mattey père et fils was dissolved on 1 January 1912, and the company was continued by Albert Georges as Stéréoscopes A. Mattey. The company was located at 208, Rue Saint-Maur in Paris from 1906 but moved to 15, Rue Clavel in 1936. After the Second World War, the company continued as Société des Anciens Établissements A. Mattey. Mattey’s products were also branded Unis France, a collective trademark to guarantee the French origin of high-quality products, made by different companies.
The complete story of Mattey


  1. Fabre, C. (1902) Traité encyclopédique de photographie. Troisième supplément : C / Charles Fabre, p. 361. Via: ↩︎
  2. Notre histoire depuis 1865. Via: ↩︎
  3. Société Mattey père et fils (1903) Chaine porte-plaques et son dispositif de commande, pour appareils stéréoscopiques. Via: ↩︎