Virtual Victoriana: Roots of 3-D

Holmes_stereoscope

A Holmes stereoscope from the 19th century.

Attendee of the 2015 Google I/O conference inspects Google Cardboard. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stereoscopic devices of the 1800’s were used for entertainment and educational purposes. Flat postcard images of exotic locales and architectural wonders were transformed into three-dimensional visits via elegant hand-held stereoscopes. These simple devices are not unlike the cardboard Google glasses that were recently distributed by the New York Times. Important 20th century tools such as 3-D arial maps are directly related to these Victorian diversions.

See these old and new tools at a small exhibit at the UC San Diego Library (Geisel West, 2nd floor) through March 2016.

The exhibit includes stereoscopic books of interest from the Library’s circulating collection, tracing current virtual surgery and modern 3-D motion pictures back to these earliest novelties. Devices on display are simple but effective: original and re-issued stereoscopes, Google glasses, old-school 3-D glasses, early Bakelite “view-masters” and, of course, many Victorian Era stereoscopic postcards.

For more information, contact Scott Paulson at 858-822-5758 or spaulson@ucsd.edu.

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