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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/60

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

his little ones with phantom scenes of beauty, brought by the sunbeam and the stereoscope from places that their eyes will never behold. The writer will not be deemed blameworthy in transcribing, from a letter that was not intended for the public, a few lines which the author has consented to let him give. Dr. Holmes says: "It appeared to me that the box stereoscopes were cumbrous and awkward affairs. I had one of Smith and Beck's, and one or more of other patterns, but I did not like them; and so one day I cut out a piece of wood in some such shape as this (Fig. 10), the lines representing slots in which the stereograph was to be placed, stuck an awl in for a handle, and there was my stereoscope. . . . I have forgotten to mention the hood, which I made of pasteboard cut to fit. Other open instruments, and many closed ones, have been made, but most of them have been awkward, expensive, and sometimes gimcracky, whereas I think mine may be called simple, strong, cheap, handy."

No better compendium of good qualities can be expressed than is comprised in this brief list of four words. The figure is taken directly from "the original great-grandfather pattern," as the inventor has pleasantly called it, the "real Adam" of hand-stereoscopes, that was born—or developed—in 1861, delighted the human beings who lived in that remote day, and has been sleeping these many years. Compelled now to show itself, like Hip Van Winkle, it is perhaps a little stiff; and in style it is a trifle blunt, in comparison with its polished and accommodating great-grandchildren of the present day (Fig. 11), that fold up and pocket themselves out of sight; but nevertheless its character is that of a straightforward, clear-headed old ancestor, that looks forth honestly from under that somber hood.

To produce the illusion of viewing an actual sunlit scene, Dr. Holmes placed between the stereograph and the semi-lenses an oblique wooden plate, in which were a pair of elliptic openings, so that the effect was that of looking through a circular window. The front was covered with gilt paper from which a golden light was reflected upon the picture. As an appropriate name he selected that of "The Claude Lorraine Stereoscope."

The inventor offered his device gratuitously to manufacturers in New York and Philadelphia, but their refusal was as courteous as was consistent with firm opposition. He did not assume the trouble to secure it by patent, as he "did not care to make money by so obvious and simple a contrivance." A few of these stereoscopes were at last constructed by Mr. Joseph L. Bates, of Boston; and the demand rapidly grew so that now but few of any other make are to be found in the United States. Improvements, indeed, have been added, but not of such kind as to diminish the cost; one of these, introduced by Mr. Bates, was the substitution of a sliding cross-bar for the series of fixed slots. The "Claude Lorraine" effect may be easily obtained with any ordinary stereoscope, by the use of an extra cross-bar, on which the