The Photographic Historical Society of Canada

An Anaglyph 3D Show of Bicycle Photographic History
Lorne Shields
Program date: February 17, 2010

Lorne Shields
Lorne Shields

bicycle shop four wheeler early two-wheeler lady bicyclist old bicycle street scene tricycle workers high rise outing

Toronto businessman Lorne Shields is a popular speaker. This is his third talk for the PHSC and fittingly, it is on 3D images. Lorne is an internationally known expert and collector of antique bicycles, bicycle images, and cycling related ephemera and memorabilia. He has loaned items from his collection to venues like the Smithsonian in Washington and the ROM in Toronto. A few years ago he donated the bulk of his bicycle collection to the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa.

Lorne began by thanking some PHSC members who helped him prepare for this and other recent talks. Ed Warner, Bob Wilson (programs to create anaglyphs), Bob Lansdale (photographing many old photographs), and Mark Singer (projecting these digital anaglyphs) were mentioned in particular.

For those interested in converting stereo cards to digital anaglyphs, Bob Wilson recommended the free Windows program “StereoPhoto Maker” along with a second free program called “Autopano”. [As an alternative, you can use Photoshop with the left and right views on a separate layer or by swapping channels in the image.] There are other ways to create digital stereo images as shown on the StereoPhoto Viewer page.

While we were getting ready for Lorne’s presentation and during his introductory remarks, he projected a short non-stereo slide show of striking bicycle views. At the start of the stereo views, he instructed the audience on the most effective way to experience the stereo effect: look at the furthest perceived depth in the slide for about 10 seconds, then focus on the forefront of the image for the same time. This, he explained, “conditions” the brain to “see” the dimensionality in the anaglyph. Once conditioned, the viewer can relax and focus on the principal object in the anaglyph. To allow this accommodation, the slides were shown at a leisurely pace.

He set the tone for the show by mentioning that 3D images give a truly 19th century experience. Stereoptic cards date back to the 1840s. They became practical in 1854 with the wet plate process and albumen prints, and affordable by the 1880s. Their popularity peaked in the late 1890s - early 1900s. The stereo cards were the TV of the Victorian era - a way to see the world beyond one’s town, social, and business experiences.

What one sees with the traditional hand held stereo viewer is completely separate from the technology and skill needed to make digital stereo images. The digital results are dependent on the condition of the original stereoptic card, the skill in converting the card to an anaglyph, and the projector’s colour balance and illumination.

Lorne chose stereoptics from the 1860s through to 1900 plus a few up to 1920. The cards had to be suitable for the conversion giving good contrast and separation. The choices included different stereo processes including the usual albumen prints, tissue paper, tintype, hand tinted, and autochrome (c1900 colour). While each stereo related to bicycles, the other content varied from scenery, to sequences that told a story, to staged accidents, to artificial scenes like diablery from France. There were stereoptic and regular photographs of the same event, high-wire artists, vintage bicycles, social outings, and bicycle races. Each slide was described in detail - approximate age, type of bicycle and its relevance in the history of bicycles, location, and the process & significance of the stereoptic.

A series of five cards told the story of a photographer who stopped a group of girls on bicycles and how they took their revenge. Other cards showed decorated bicycles in parades, groups of soldiers, and even cards of old Toronto.

After the show Lorne fielded a wide variety of questions on old bicycles, the stereo show, and scenes recorded by the stereoptics. Below are a few examples of Lorne’s slides in anaglyph stereo format (click on a thumbnail to see a larger view). Just round up a pair of anaglyph eyeglasses - the ones with a red filter for the left eye and a cyan one for the right eye. If you have any questions or wish to purchase rights to some of his rare images, contact Lorne by email at

bridge with  view
Bridge with a view
Diablery scene
I was robbed
How to win a bet
child on lever operated vehicle
child in the garden
family portrait
New tricycle
Wheelwright shop
on a mountain high
On high
ready set go!
Ready, set, GO!
Hard knocks
girls gone wild
Girls gone wild
early biker gang
Early bike gang
that must have hurt
That must have hurt
along the trail
A famous pathway
ploe position
Pole position
take a break
Taking a break
5 kids on 2 bikes
The Benner Bros
booting up a camera
Booting up
showing off
Posing with a bicycle
fixing a flat
Fixing a flat
off trail hazards
Off road hazards
ticket for speeding
You were speeding
get it done before i'm back
Keep working
queen's Park Toronto
Queen's Park Toronto

The images in the left sidebar are from the selection shown before the 3D show.
1. c1900 Bicycle Shop with bicycles built for two.
2. lever operated quadracycle
3. studio picture of a man on velocipede
4. studio picture of a woman on a velocipede
5. street scene with velocipede
6. store fronts showing a Bicycle School
7. man on a tricycle
8. workers and two velocipede riders in front of the workshop
9. the high-wheel riders (penny-farthing bicycles)


This page was designed in Dreamweaver CS4 on an iMac running OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). Unless otherwise noted, images on this page were taken with a Sony F828 digital still camera and subsequently adjusted in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom V2.6 and Photoshop CS4. Presentation images are ©2010 by Lorne Shields and may not be used with out his permission. Content and all other images are ©2010 by the Photographic Historical Society of Canada and may be used freely provided the source is clearly indicated. Copies of photographs displayed during this presentation may not be used without the copyright holder's permission. Contact PHSC at if you would like more information on the items discussed on this page.

Bob Carter

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