Stéréoscope Américain Simple Socle

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The Stéréoscope Américain Simple Socle is a chain-based stereoscope, decorated with mother-of-pearl motifs. The stereoscope has a frosted glass on the back that suggests that the viewer is also suitable for glass stereoviews, but the chain and holders are far too weak to support the heavy glass slides. The frosted glass is therefore only intended for viewing paper tissue stereoviews. The stereoscope shows similarities with a model in the 1894–1895 catalogue from manufacturer Auguste Wytenhove1. This catalogue mentions that the viewer is available for 12, 25 and 50 stereoviews, and also shows the availability of a “Noir décoré” (black decorated) model.

Auguste Wytenhove was located at 8, Rue Pastourelle in Paris. His company was acquired in 1898 by Maison Legendre, which in turn was acquired by Mattey in 1902. The Wytenhove catalogue therefore offers a valuable insight into the origin of Mattey’s product range.


Manufacturer:Auguste Wytenhove (attributed)
Year of introduction:c. 1890
Year of manufacture:c. 1895
Bidirectional navigation:Yes
Serial number:None
Stereoview support:Paper
Stereoview format:8.5 x 17 cm
Number of slides:50
Lens focussing:No
Inter-ocular adjustment:No
Eyepiece blinders:No
Dimensions (L x W x H):26 x 23.5 x 43 cm
Construction:Walnut, decorated with mother-of-pearl motifs.

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. It still manufactured stereoscopes in 1952, although the heydays of stereoscopy were over by then. 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. Wytenhove, A (1894) Stéréoscopes – Monocles et Pantoscopes, p. 19. Via: ↩︎