"Stereo" (3D) photography had become popular as early as the 1860s, but its popularity soared in the early 20th century. Virtually every home featured a stereoviewer and a library of commercially-produced stereoviews to enjoy the vivid 3D effects. Despite this popularity, it seems that few people cared to shoot their own stereoviews, so stereo cameras were not widely sold. Perhaps the cost of film may have been a factor, since a normal 12-exposure roll of film would yield only 6 stereo pairs. These cameras worked by taking two simultaneous photos, with lenses set about 2.5" apart -- approximately the distance between a person's eyes. When the images are paired, the very slight difference in the shooting angle causes the image to 'pop' into 3 dimensions in a stereoviewer. The appearance can be dramatic.
Kodak offered the No. 2 Stereo Brownie from 1905 to 1910, with only 4,000 made. The original price was $12.
One detail that makes it unusual, and popular among today's collectors, is that it has separate bellows for each of the two lenses, rather than a single bellows with internal septum as found on most stereo cameras. The appearance is definitely out of the ordinary. This specific camera can be dated to 1905 due to the Brownie Automatic lenses. Those were changed to Pocket Automatic starting in 1906. The lenses have settings for instant, bulb, or time exposures, and four aperture adjustments. The two lenses are linked so that whatever setting is used on the main lens (on the left as seen from the front) is automatically transfered to the second lens. The shutter lever is also linked so both fire simultaneously.
The No. 2 Stereo Brownie used 125 film, which Kodak introduced in 1905 specifically for this camera. It yielded photos measuring 3-1/4" x 2-1/2". (This film was discontinued in 1949.)
Stereo photography fell out of favor by the 1920s, but it enjoyed a brief resurgence of popularity in the 1950s, when Kodak introduced a much smaller and more modern 35mm Kodak Stereo camera.
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