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Asher-Law stereoscope, London, England, 1960-1968

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Stereoscopes were first demonstrated to the Royal Society in 1838 by Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875). They were handheld devices that enabled the viewer to see a 3D image through the viewfinder. This optical illusion was created by placing two slides of the same subject, drawn from different viewpoints, in the holder. The two images merge to form a 3D view. Sterescopes were essentially popular novelties. However, this Asher-Law example diagnosed sight problems. It was developed in the 1950s by ophthalmologists H. Asher and Frank Law (1898-1987) and is seen here at the rear with some picture cards (A662626 Pt1). The stereoscope can strengthen the eyes by optical exercises. These treat muscular problems such as a squint. It is also a useful optical tool for treating children. This example of an Asher-Law stereoscope was made by Keeler of London.

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Glossary: optical instruments

A device used to observe and/or measure light. It can give an enhanced image for viewing or scientific analysis.

Glossary: stereoscope

Viewers in which pairs of stereoscopic images are mounted and appear as a single, three-dimensional image when viewed. Use for objects designed to view individual stereo cards, usually photographic prints.