Lucien Bize

Lucien Albert Bize (1866-?)[1] was a designer of a range of compact stereoscopes. His first patent dates from 1904 and is a design for the detachable Omnium handheld stereoscope[2]. Many names are associated with the manufacturing of his designs.

With Simeon Louis Claparede he patented the design for Le Minimus in 1907[3], an innovative multiple view stereoscope based on a very simple mechanism. Le Minimus was announced as a novelty in 1908 by Maison Gustave Jacob, together with the slightly more advanced Multiphote stereoscope[4].

Lucien Bize - Le Minimus
Le Minimus

Gustave Jacob was located at Rue de Bretagne 69[5] and later at Rue Oberkampf 22 in Paris[4]. The company was the holder of the patents for the stereoscope designs[5]. It seems that Bize and Claparede sold the manufacturing rights to Jacob.

Lucien Bize - Gustave Jacob

Lucien Bize founded his own company at Rue Oberkampf 69 in 1909[6] and a year later he introduced Le Polyphote [7].

He sold his company on 1 January 1913 to Robert Pleyau (1883-1978)[8][9]. The last patent of Bize dates from 1912 and was a design for the Astra stereoscope[10]. This viewer is presented by Pleyau in 1913[11].

Pleyau was mobilised by the French army in the beginning of the First Word War[12]. Somehow he managed to keep his company going, because in 1916 he urgently searches for a mechanic[13].

Lucien Bize / Robert Pleyau - advertisement from December 1913
Advertisement from November 1913[2]

Pleyau sold a part of his business activities to La Société E. Brose et Cie in 1917[14]. Pleyau remained active as an entrepreneur at Rue Oberkampf 69 but it’s unclear whether he sold the manufacturing activities of stereoscopes. He was convicted in 1926 for “Abus de confiance”[12] and declared bankrupt the same year[15].

In 1919, Louis Bégin and Georges Noiret set up another company engaged in the manufacture of optical instruments at the same address[16] and a new name, E. Bertrand, advertised as Ancienne Maison Bize in 1921[17].

Lucien Bize - Le Polyphote
Le Polyphote

It remains unclear what all these changes have meant for the manufacturing of stereoscopes based on Bize’s designs. It’s possible that the manufacturing of the devices ended during or after the war. The stereoscopes have not been found in post-war catalogs so far.


  1. Reconstitution des familles du Loiret – via:
  2. Bize, Lucien. Stéréoscope-monocle-loupe FR340728, 19 July 1904 – via:
  3. Bize, Lucien; Claparede, Simeon Louis. Stéréoscope FR374970, 23 February 1907 – via:
  4. Nouveautés pout l’année 1908-1909. Le Gaulois, 29 July 1908 – via:
  5. M. Gustave Jacob…Concessionnaire des brevets Bize et Claparède. Le Journal, 21 September 1906 – via:
  6. Bize (Lucien), ingénieur, Annuaire du commerce Didot-Bottin, January 1909 – via:
  7. Polyphote Advertisement, 1910
  8. Vente de fonds, L’Information photographique, January 1913 – via:
  9. Robert Hippolyte François Pléyau – via:
  10. Bize, Lucien. Stéréoscope classeur FR463687, 23 December 1912 – via:
  11. Stéréo-Auto-Classeur “Astra”, Photo-index, 20 June 1913 – via:
  12. Robert Hippolyte François Pleyau (matricule), Registres matricules du recrutement (1887-1921) via: archives.
  13. Offres d’emplois – Robert Pleyau. L’Intransigeant, 4 March 1916 – via:
  14. Ventes de fonds de commerce – Playau, Le Courier, 29 November 1917 – via:
  15. Les failites – Robert Pleyau, Le Radical, 13 March 1926 – via:
  16. Bégin et Noiret, Le Courier, 20 March 1919 – via:
  17. E. Bertrand – Anc. Maison Bize, Annuaire du commerce Didot-Bottin, January 1921 – via: gallica.bnf fr

See also: blogposts about Lucien Bize

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