it’s in the cards

1865 Stereo Card from US Civil War

Toronto. Over a century ago, before movies, radio, television, computers, and smart phones, a key source of education and entertainment was the stereo card.  These slightly curved bits of cardboard held two photos (usually taken at slightly different angles, although fakes using two identical photos existed). With a photo for each eye, a cheap viewer (or none at all if the viewer was skilled) let the brain merge the two photos into one in 3D.

The cards acted as a travelogue for many. Subjects included city views, medical,  comedy, wars, history and many other educational and entertaining topics. People of all ages viewed these marvels to learn and laugh! This example is a band of slaves who  escaped to the north and fought for the Union. This card is one sold by “The War Photograph & Exhibition Company” in Hartford Connecticut. Other larger companies (Keystone, Underwood & Underwood, etc.) sold the bulk of the cards.

My thank s to George Dunbar for bringing this piece of history to my attention.

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