Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the The University of Edinburgh & National Museums Scotland's online course, Stereoscopy: An Introduction to Victorian Stereo Photography. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds So David Brewster was a Scottish physicist, astronomer, writer, author, inventor as well. He was born in 1781. He developed a very early interest in optics. And in 1815, he invented the kaleidoscope. It took too long to patent it, and so he didn’t make any money out of it. And it made him a little bitter because a lot of people made a lot of money with the kaleidoscope, but he didn’t make any. And in 1849, he developed, created, a stereoscope, but he was not the inventor of the stereoscope because the stereoscope was invented by Charles Wheatstone in 1838. But he improved the stereoscope and he made it smaller. Wheatstone’s stereoscope used mirrors, and Brewster replaced the mirrors with prisms.

Skip to 1 minute and 2 seconds So the stereoscope became portable, just the size of a small box, a bit like opera glasses, actually. And it enabled the photos to become smaller as well and to be put together on the same support, on the same mount. Well, Jules Duboscq was an optician. And just before he died in 1886, he became an officer of the Legion of Honour. So he was respected, honored, and he was really a talented craftsman. And his instruments were famous all over the world. So in 1850, Duboscq had a visit from Sir David Brewster, and Brewster showed him his stereoscope, the stereoscope he had invented a few years earlier. And he couldn’t have anybody make it in England.

Skip to 1 minute and 54 seconds And Duboscq was interested at once, and he said, OK, I will make your stereoscope. And in 1851, he brought stereos and stereoscopes to the Great Exhibition in London.

Sir David Brewster and Louis Jules Duboscq

In this video, photo historian Denis Pellerin explains how Sir David Brewster and Jules Duboscq came together to develop the lenticular stereoscope, which was exhibited at the Great Exhibition in 1851.

What do you think about the impact of this partnership?

Share your comments in this step.

In the next step, we will look in more detail at the life and work of Jules Duboscq.

Additional Reading

If you want to explore Brewster’s work in more detail, you can get a free download of his book, published in 1856.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Stereoscopy: An Introduction to Victorian Stereo Photography

The University of Edinburgh