‘European War’ Stereographs

The Victorians were ahead of the game when it comes to the latest trend of 3-D entertainment.  Before you needed sill glasses to view all the summer blockbusters, and before the even sillier blue and red eyed glasses, there was the Stereoscope, all the rage in trendy Victorian Parlours.

963.14.1abc - Stereoscope
963.14.1abc – Stereoscope

The stereoscope was a devise that allowed the viewer to see 3-D images.  Stereoscopic cards would have two nearly identical images side by side, and when viewed through the stereoscope, our eyes would view the images as one, and certain elements would become 3-D.  Remember when you were a kid and you had the plastic ViewMaster?  The stereoscope worked the same way.

A998.21.1ab - European War Stereograph Collection
A998.21.1ab – European War Stereograph Collection

In 1998, the Oshawa Community Archives received a fascinating collection of Stereographs.  They were published by Underwood and Underwood in New York, and these 22 cards were housed in a brown case, labeled ‘European War.’  Depicted on the cards are various scenes from World War I, and the images range from stoic to devastating.  A harsh reminder that war is bitter and real.  It does not care for nationality, religion, or status.  War devastates.

A selection from the collection.  Some images may be disturbing to the reader.  Please be advised.

A998.21.2a - Stereoview - Captured German guns on view in Parade grounds, St. James Palace, London
A998.21.2a – Stereoview – Captured German guns on view in Parade grounds, St. James Palace, London
A998.21.2d - Stereoview - Where all is still and cold and dead, Lens France
A998.21.2d – Stereoview – Where all is still and cold and dead, Lens France
A998.21.2h - Stereoview - Canadian artillery proceeding to the front
A998.21.2h – Stereoview – Canadian artillery proceeding to the front
A998.21.2n - Stereoview - 'And now we lie in Flanders Field', Vallee Foulon, France
A998.21.2n – Stereoview – ‘And now we lie in Flanders Field’, Vallee Foulon, France
A998.21.2t - Stereoview - Three British motorcycle despatch riders passing through Senlis
A998.21.2t – Stereoview – Three British motorcycle despatch riders passing through Senlis