Check Out These Amazing Vintage Stereoscopic Images of NYC From 1850s to the 1930s

Before motion pictures were a thing, the pinnacle of visual technology was the Stereoscopic Image, a process where two images are produced of the same subject which have a very slightly different viewpoint. When shown through a special piece of equipment that diverts one image to each of your eyes, the result is that the viewer's brain combines the images into a 3D view of the subject.

Without a stereoscope, a similar effect can be had by showing the images back-to-back quickly in succession. These GIF's from The Guardian do that perfectly using a few of the thousands of vintage stereoscopic photos in the New York Public Library's collection.

“Between the 1850s and the 1910s, stereographic images were a mainstay of home entertainment, perhaps second only to reading as a personal leisure activity,” says the NYPL. “Like television, stereos were an intimate medium viewed by individuals or small groups at home, or at churches, schools or clubs”

Check out the full article for more on the NYPL's vintage stereoscopic image collection.

Stereograph: A man with a camera perches high above the city
Stereograph: A man with a camera perches high above the city
Photo: NYPL
Stereograph: Brooklyn Bridge
Stereograph: Brooklyn Bridge
Photo: NYPL
Stereograph: The Flatiron building
Stereograph: The Flatiron building
Photo: NYPL
Stereograph: Wall Street
Stereograph: Wall Street
Photo: NYPL
Stereograph: Ice skaters in Central Park.
Stereograph: Ice skaters in Central Park.
Photo: NYPL
Stereograph: The motor car begins to dominate
Stereograph: The motor car begins to dominate
Photo: NYPL

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