Stéréoscope-Classeur Portatif

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Mackenstein’s Stéréoscope-Classeur Portatif is a compact and rare stereoscope. It is one of the most compact tray-based stereoscope with an advanced mechanism ever designed. Most stereoscopes use a rail on which the slide tray moves to a position where a fixed positioned metal finger lifts a slide and places it in front of the lenses.

When operating the Stéréoscope-Classeur Portatif, the tray remains in place. There are 25 curved fingers with grooved edges positioned under the tray, one for each slide. The panel with the lenses can slide out of the housing by turning a knob on the right side of the device. A trigger arm is attached to this moving panel. Depending on its position, one of the fingers is triggered by pressing a button on the top right of the device. The finger picks up the slide from the tray and places it in front of the lenses. Releasing the button places the slide back in the tray.

Pressing a small plunger on the front panel swings a shutter away from the centre of the slide, and reveals any written descriptions that are applied to the slide. The wooden housing is made of mahogany and optional storage cabinets for storing slide trays were available. The rarity of this stereoscope suggests that the design, with its exotic mechanism, was not a commercial success.


Manufacturer:Mackenstein, Paris
Year of introduction:1912
Year of manufacture:Unknown
Bidirectional navigation:No
Serial number:None
Stereoview support:Glass
Stereoview format:45 x 107 mm
Number of slides:25
Lens focussing:Yes
Inter-ocular adjustment:No
Eyepiece blinders:Yes
Dimensions (L x W x H):18.5 x 16 x 19 cm
Other features:Plate on front panel with Établissements Mackenstein – Usine: 15 Rue des Carmes, Magasin: Avenue de l’Opéra.


Title:Appareil pour la vision d’une série de vues photographiques sur verre
Filing date:19-01-1911
Publishing date:25-03-1912
Applicant(s):Établissements Mackenstein

Hermann Mackenstein
Hermann Josef Hubert Mackenstein (1846–1924) was born in Doveren, Westphalia (present-day Germany). He learned the trade of carpentry and left for Paris in 1867 to improve his skills. He started manufacturing cameras at the end of the 1870s. His company moved to 15, Rue des Carmes around 1900, and a store was opened in 1902 at 7, Avenue de l’Opéra. Mackenstein’s company became a leading manufacturer of cameras in Paris. Mackenstein manufactured conventional cameras, stereo cameras and stereoscopes. In 1914, the international situation deteriorated, leading to the outbreak of the First World War. Mackenstein was forced to fled to the neutral Netherlands in 1915. He returned to Paris after the war, where he died in 1924. His company was continued by two of his employees, Henri Suffize and Léon Molitor.
The complete story of Mackenstein


  1. Établissements Mackenstein (1912) Appareil pour la vision d’une série de vues photographiques sur verre. Via: ↩︎