Taxiphote was the name of a series of multiple view stereoscopes based on slide trays. The device was developed by Jules Richard and the first patent dates from 1900. The first models were just called Stéréo Classeur, but soon the name Taxiphote was introduced. It was the most sophisticated stereoscope of its time.
The Taxiphote remained in production for 35 years and offered more or less the same features during its lifetime. The internal mechanism was improved through the years while the appearance stayed more or less the same. There were models for the glass formats 45x107mm and 6x13cm, but also for the less common formats 7x13cm and 8,5x17cm. The exclusive device included a cabinet for the storage of slide trays. Large furniture cabinets for up to 2000 slides were also available.
The Taxiphote for the 45x107mm format is made of walnut and consists of a viewer and a storage cabinet. The front panel of the viewer contains a short instruction manual. The internal mechanism is attached to a copper base plate and this model has serial number 7550 engraved, which indicates that It’s probabely manufactured between 1908 and 1910. The plate also contains the name Richard Frères, which was the name of the company when Jules Richard ran it together with his younger brother Max. Max left the company in 1891, but the name and logo RF remained in use for many years.
- Support for bakelite slide trays with 25 glass slides in 45x107mm format
- Two achromatic lenses which can be focussed by using knobs on either side of the device
- Distance between the eyepieces can be adjusted by using a lever which moves over a scale of millimetres
- A counter on the left side shows which slide in the tray is loaded
- Written captions on glass slides can be read by bringing a magnifying glass into the field of view
- A storage cabinet for 12 slide trays which can store up to 300 slides
Because of its high price, Jules Richard introduced a more affordable model in 1908: the Taxiphote Modèle Simplifié (simplified model). This model lacked some of the advanced features and was mainly available for the 45x107mm format. This compact model did not have a storage compartment and was offered for about half the price of a standard model. This model has serialnumber 4436 and is manufactured between 1908 and 1910.
- Wing, Paul. Stereoscopes: the first one hundred years, 1996
- Catalog Jules Richard, January 1917
- Martiné, Paul. Taxiphote database