You will find a collection of 3D photos enhancing the pages of this vintage-themed website. The old fashioned images are in the double-picture Stereograph format which you can view without the need for special glasses. The modern images are in the Anaglyph format, and you'll need 3D glasses to view them. All the 3D pictures are remarkable to view. Have fun!
The 1950s saw a 3D craze where movies, photographs, and even comic books were presented in startling 3D depth during the few years the fad lasted. However, people have been fascinated by anaglyph 3D photos since the late 1800s.
Anaglyph drawings utilize a two-color printing process, and a two-color viewer consisting of special glasses with relevant colored lenses. The same picture is printed first with a red ink and then with a greenish-blue ink.
Your left eye looks through a red lens that filters out the red lines, so it only sees the greenish-blue lines on the picture. Simultaneously, your right eye looks through a greenish-blue lens that filters out the greenish-blue lines, so it sees only the red lines on the picture. Your brain combines the two pictures into one image giving the illusion of depth.
Anaglyph photos and movies follow a similar color process. Cameras with two tinted lenses are used, each lens filming from a slightly different position relative to the distance your eyes are apart. The processed pictures appear blurred when viewed with the naked eye, but they become clear and three-dimensional when viewed with the necessary 3D glasses.
3D glasses are needed to view the Anaglyph 3D photos on your computer screen. Plastic or card stock glasses with red-blue lenses can be purchased very cheaply online from Amazon, or you can even make your own 3D glasses as seen in the short YouTube video below.
The following 3D anaglyph images are featured on this site. Red-blue glasses are needed to properly view the 3D photos.
Green Cooking Apple
Old Holland Town
Cologne City, Germany
Harbor in Portofino in Liguria, Italy
Olvera in Cadiz, Andalusia, Spain
Beautiful Field of Lavender
There were approximately fifty 3D comic book titles published during the
3D craze of the early 1950s. Aside from the familiar characters of
Mighty Mouse, the Three Stooges, Superman and Batman, there arose new
characters such as Captain 3D and Sheena Queen of the Jungle.
Hand-drawn comics with their distinctive 3D effect first appeared on newsstands in 1953. However, their spectacular beginning ended just one year later in 1954, as the novelty of 3D comics rapidly diminished for various reasons.
As with the recent demise of 3D television, the inconvenience of wearing 3D glasses had much to do with the demise of 3D comics. The glasses were a card stock insert in the comic and their flimsy nature and colored cellophane lenses could not withstand rough handling. Once the glasses were damaged, the comic book became unreadable.
What's more, unless you took the trouble to attach a string to your red-blue glasses, you had to hold them steady while reading, and it soon became all too tiring.
Higher publishing costs for the 3D drawings resulted in a newsstand price of 25 cents compared to the 10 cents charged for standard 2D comics; it was more than a kid's allowance could bear.
Publishers caught up in the 3D comic craze included St. John Publishing Company, National Comics, Stereographic Publications, Atlas, Harvey Famous Name Comics, and E.C. Comics. Some publishers developed their own patented techniques to produce the 3D panels with a greater illusion of depth and motion.
"3D Sheena Jungle Queen" offers an excellent example of the anaglyph graphics featured in 3D comic books from the 1950s.
Put on your red-blue 3D glasses and note how the comic characters almost leap from the page. Note how greater depth and motion can be simulated as you move your head from side to side. They were truly a visual novelty.
Thankfully, all is not lost. The Digital Comic Museum is one of the best sites to view and to download digitized 3D comics from the early 1950s.
Stereoscopic 3D photos (also called stereographs) came into demand after the stereoscope was invented by Mr. Elliot of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1839. A British scientist and photography pioneer, David Brewster added glass lenses to improve Elliot's design, and his "lenticular stereoscope" became the first portable 3D viewer.
Brewster's Stereoscopes were demonstrated at the Great Exhibition of 1851, and demand for stereographs exploded soon after. Stereographers travelled the world to photograph well-known attractions to meet public demand for the now-popular "stereo cards."
Stereoscopes became popular in America during the 1860s when stereographs of Civil War battle scenes were in big demand. By the early 1900s and the First World War, stereoscopes were one of the most popular entertainment devices found in homes across North America. Today's View-Master® and Google Cardboard™ owe their origin to the old fashioned stereograph.
A stereoscopic 3D camera attempts to mimic human vision by taking 2 photographs at once and offsetting them by a small distance relative to the distance your eyes are apart, about 2-1/2 inches. The left photograph corresponds to your left eye and the right photograph corresponds to your right eye.
When the paired photos are viewed in a stereoscope, your left eye sees only the left image and your right eye sees only the right image. Your brain combines the two images into one giving the illusion of depth or what became known as 3D in the 1950s.
It is possible to view stereoscopic photos without a special viewer simply by leaning in close and staring through the photos while slightly crossing the eyes until the two converge to form one 3D image in the center. It can take a minute or two for the image to materialize, and some people find this "cross-eyed" method easier to do than others, but it is fun to try.
The following stereographs are featured on this site:
Young Children Singing Christmas Carols, c. 1890
Children Play Ring Around the Rosie on Christmas Day, c. 1897
Easter Eggs on Easter Morning in the White House, c. 1904
Cataract House Hotel, Niagara Falls, N.Y., c. 1900
Young Couple in Their Kitchen Cooking Supper, c. 1903
"Y Girls" Making Doughnuts, Montabaur on the Rhine, c. 1914-18
1909 World's Fair, St. Louis, Missouri
Victoria, Queen and Empress, c. 1901
Thanksgiving Dinner Table, c. 1923
White House East Room in 1902
Hotel St. Francis, San Francisco, c. 1911
Hotel St. Francis After the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake
Are you old enough to remember the Coronet 3D camera? It was a low-cost camera designed
to take black and white stereoscopic photographs that could be viewed in 3D simulated
depth. Made by the Coronet Camera Company in Birmingham, England, it
took advantage of the 3D craze back in the mid 1950s.
The Coronet 3D camera wasn't pretty to look at. It was somewhat clunky
in its appearance and quite simple in its design, yet very practical for
taking 3D photos with its binocular-type viewfinder. It used
standard No. 127 black and white roll film, but instead of the usual 8
photos per roll, it took 4 pairs of stereo pictures.
The camera could be set to take regular 2D photos simply by turning a
small knob next to the right-hand lens which simply moved a metal disk called a cover blade
to block light from entering the one lens. This permitted the left-hand
lens to take 8 photos similar to a standard 2D camera. Indoor 3D photos
could be taken by purchasing an optional flash unit and bulbs.
One major drawback was its need for custom film developing. Local photo
finishing labs were not equipped for printing the negatives in pairs.
The prints needed to be trimmed to proper 1-3/4-inch size to fit the 3D
viewer and transposed to get the full 3D stereoscopic effect.
For instance, the pair of pictures must be meticulously cut down the center and the right-hand picture put into the left-hand side of the viewer and vice versa. The pictures were printed to maintain this position permanently.
For North American Coronet camera owners, there were only 3 photo labs equipped to develop and print pictures to specifications, one in New York, one in Hollywood, and one in Toronto. Single rolls were processed for 60 cents or 2 rolls for $1 in 1955, corresponding to $9.29 US in 2018 for 4 3D-stereo pairs of pictures.
I can remember purchasing my Coronet 3-D camera at the Woolworth store in Peterborough, Ontario. They were on sale for $2.95 at the time which would amount to around $28 CDN in today's money, allowing inflation. It was a major purchase for a 9-year-old farm boy without an allowance back in 1955, but I was intent on having it.
Unfortunately, the realities of costly film processing ($9.29 USD) resulted in me taking only a handful of 3D photos, 3 of which I've since digitized and now display below.
If you would like to try creating your own 3D photos, IMGonline offers a FREE online tool that will easily convert almost any digital photo from 2D to 3D. Convert your photo to either a red-blue anaglyph image or create a two-picture stereoscopic image. Take your choice. Enjoy!
The image results will vary depending on the quality of the photo you upload, but you will find your 3D image conversion interesting if not downright impressive.