Vérascope Richard camera

The Vérascope is a compact stereo camera that was introduced in 1893 by Jules Richard. It was the best selling stereo camera of its time [1] and the production of various models continued well into the 1950s.

In 1893 Jules Richard introduced the new 45x107mm glass plate negative format for stereo cameras. It was a lot more compact than the large glass slides that were common these days. These large formats required large and expensive cameras and limited photography to professional photographers or wealthy amateurs.

With the introduction of the 45x107mm format, Jules Richard introduced the Vérascope stereo camera which was the first camera that supported the new format. The compact and relatively easy-to-operate camera revived stereo photography in the early 20th century in France. Vérascope Richard was not only the name of the camera, but became a trademark for a wide range of hand-held and revolving stereoscopes, developing tools and accessories. It made stereo photography accessible to amateurs.

Vérascope № 6
Vérascope № 6

In addition to the 45x107mm Vérascope, models for the 6x13cm and the less popular 7x13cm format were introduced later [2]. Many different glass plate models were introduced well into the 1920s. The last model was the Vérascope f40 for 35mm roll film, which was produced until the 1950s [2].

Vérascope № 6

The Vérascope № 6 was introduced in 1908 and was available with Zeiss or Krauss F6.3 lenses (version 6a) or faster Zeiss F4.5 lenses (version 6b). The camera in this post is a 6bs version and has two Boyer Saphir F4.5 lenses with serial numbers 385 and 410. This version was introduced in 1920 and the camera’s serial number 40305 indicates that it’s manufactured in 1921 [2].

The camera’s body is made entirely of metal and is meant to be mounted upside down on a tripod, so that the settings on the front panel can be read by leaning over the camera from above. The plate holder forms the back of the camera and can hold twelve 45x107mm glass plate negatives, which are advanced by a sliding action using the hinged handle. The plate holder has a built-in exposure counter and has serial number 43033.

The camera’s features:

  • Two Boyer Saphir anastigmatic and fixed-focus lenses with a focal length of 56mm
  • Three diaphragm settings: f/4.5, f/8 and f/16
  • Shutter speeds: 1/500 to 1/9sec.
  • Guillotine shutter with two settings: P and I
  • Built-in angled viewfinder between both lenses
  • Folding crosshair viewfinder
  • Spirit level on top
  • Cable release
Vérascope № 6 by Jules Richard
6x9,5cm Carte de Visite of a woman with a Vérascope
6×9,5cm Carte de Visite of a woman with a Vérascope

References

  1. History of Science Museum, Sphæra newsletter, Spring 1999
  2. Jules Richard et la Magie du Relief – part 1, Jacques Perin, 1993
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