Stereoscopic view of the full Moon by George W Griffith. Silver gelatin print mounted on card. Charles Wheatstone demonstrated his stereoscope to the Royal Society in 1838 in order to create an apparently three-dimensional image to demonstrate binocular vision. Although Wheatstone's invention was intended to be an experimental demonstration apparatus, stereoscopes became popular scientific toys. The popularity of stereoscopic viewers was such that between 1860 and 1920 they were almost as common a feature in American and European households as the television set is today. A card such as this would be placed in the viewer, and when one eye viewed each image, the picture would appear to be three-dimensional.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library