A reproduction Holmes stereoscope by Davepape from Wikipedia Commons

Inspired by the New York Public Library’s Stereogranimator (http://stereo.nypl.org/), we’ve created a few animated stereographs from the collections on New York Heritage!

Stereoscopic cards were precursors to the iconic View Master toy.  Users slid the stereograph into a viewer and looked at each half of the image with a different eye, causing an optic illusion of depth because each separate image was taken from a slightly different angle.

You might not be able to spot the subtle differences between the two halves of this stereographic image, Burial Mound of the Seneca Indians at the Old Castle, Kanadesaga, (Geneva, N.Y.) from 1879:

But by layering these two halves on top of each other and animating the result into a gif, we can produce a similar result:

Here are some other examples at work:

Image shows stereograph postcard with view of Ivy Arch bridge in Delaware Park with flower beds and a well maintained carriage road underneath the bridge, circa 1905-1910.

The oldest church bell in Western New York State west of Utica. Cast at Gibbonsville, (now West Troy) N.Y. June 1819. Hung in the First Presbyterian Church steeple, Geneva. Nov. 1819.

Another alternative to the GIF is a javascript animation, explained here: http://sunpig.com/martin/archives/2005/12/12/wiggle-stereoscopy-a-new-approach.html

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NewYorkHeritage.org is a research portal for students, educators, historians, genealogists, and others who are interested in learning more about the people, places and institutions of historical New York State. The site provides immediate free access to more than 160 distinct digital collections that reflect New York State's long history.