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Rotoscope stereo viewer and souvenir stereo cards

  • c. 1910
These stereo cards (with viewer) were a novelty collectable included in the packaging of a selection of cigarette brands. The Museum's collection includes a variety of stereo images and viewers however the Rotoscope and its accompanying stereo images demonstrate the embrace and penetration of stereoscopy into popular culture and consumerism as a novelty collectable.

The popularity of stereo images emerges in media repeatedly - the ViewMaster and its proprietary reels rode a wave of resurging …


Object No.


Object Statement

Stereo viewer and stereo cards, Rotoscope, paper / metal, maker unknown, United Kingdom, c. 1910

Physical Description

Rotoscope stereo viewer and stereo cards.

The Rotoscope stereo viewer was, in all likelihood, required to be purchased at a nominal extra cost to view the cards. The viewer is of a simple and cheap design in pressed tin.

There is a metal tin issued by the Ardath Tobacco Company, based in London. Within the tin are forty-four (44) stereoscopic photographic cards. The cards have images of Europe, the Middel East, North America and Asia.

There is also a white cardboard box used to store the objects.

There are marks.


Printed on outside, 'This Rotoscope is especially designed to take the small photos enclosed in every packet of the following well known brands of CIGARETTES / THREE CASTLES / VANITY FAIR / VICE REGAL (Cork Tipped) / CAPSTAN / DIXONS No.1', '200 views gathered from all parts of the world......'



Stereo images are taken with a two lens camera, capturing the subject from points of view about 5 to 6 centimetres apart.



The development of stereo images emerged rapidly on the heels of ordinary photography in the mid 19th century.

The popularity of stereo images emerges in media repeatedly - the viewmaster and reels saw a resurgence in the decades encompassing the mid 20th century and 3D movies and television from the 1950s to the early 20th century after the technology to capture and display these images was again refined to a commercially viable state.


Credit Line

Gift of Robert Dearden, 2013

Acquisition Date

26 November 2014

Cite this Object


Rotoscope stereo viewer and souvenir stereo cards 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 7 December 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Rotoscope stereo viewer and souvenir stereo cards |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=7 December 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.