Parlor Games

4 09 2012

You might think 3D tv is where it’s at, but once upon a time folks got their home entertainment kicks by pulling out the stereoview cards.  These curved pieces of cardboard featured two almost identical photographs, and were inserted into a hand-held device with a hooded pair of lenses that you held up to your eyes – and presto!  The photographs merged into one fabulous 3D image sure to knock you off your horsehair sofa!  That’s right – View Master didn’t invent the idea, they just rearranged the components.  Stereoviews were so popular that they were produced by the thousands, covering every possible topic from architecture to “spirit’ photography to weird exercises to test your vision.  People who had never travelled before could suddenly find themselves atop the Alps, sailing down the Mississippi, or lost in the ruins of Egyptian temples.  Bonus information was printed on the reverse side, which often corresponded to printed publications that you could follow along with and collect all the stereoviews for.




6 responses

4 09 2012
Magical Effects of Thinking

My grandma or maybe her mother had those. I remember playing with them. The ones she had were colorized or something. Cool.

7 10 2012
Loren Rhoads

I love collecting these too. I think I even have a couple of Egyptian ones, but mostly my focus is cemeteries. 🙂

8 10 2012
Dr. Sphinx

Cemeteries are awesome! And not just because of the occasional Egyptian mausoleum. Have you visited Graceland cemetery in Chicago?

8 10 2012
Loren Rhoads

I haven’t been to Graceland Cemetery yet, but I went to Rosehill a couple of years ago. Do you know about the Roman-era pyramid tomb in the Protestant Cemetery of Rome? It’s really lovely — and huge.

8 10 2012
Dr. Sphinx

I think so – is that the tomb of Caius Cestius? I have a vintage postcard of it. Personally, I would like to be cremated and scattered, but it would be nifty to design an Egyptian tomb for myself even if just for show. ;p

8 10 2012
Loren Rhoads

Yes, Caius Cestius. It’s lovely in person.

I’d like to be cremated myself, but nothing says you can’t have a really spectacular cenotaph somewhere.

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