ANTIQUE DESKTOP STEREOSCOPIC VIEWER, WITH OVER 250 ORIGINAL SLIDES
(PHOTOGRAPHY) ICA. Multiplast Stereo Viewer. Dresden: Ica, circa 1915. Original mahogany cabinet (12 by 9 by 8-1/2 inches), mounted on a lockable plinth (7-1/2 by 12 by 11-1/2 inches), with over 250 original slides. $3500.
Vintage Multiplast stereo viewer with lever-operated slide-changer, “a viewing apparatus of highest precision and versatility… in its stylish design in polished mahogany wood, with fine nickel fittings, an ornament for any elegant room.”
The Dresden-based German company Ica, which was absorbed by Zeiss in 1926, based its Multiplast on the Optical Model Taxiphote, manufactured by the French firm of Jules Richard. The basic design and function of controls is substantially the same. The Multiplast is a desktop stereoscopic viewer in a very grand cabinet of polished mahogany with nickel fittings, mounted on a lockable plinth containing three drawers, each with four Zeiss magazines that can hold up to 25 glass slides. It has a lever-operated slide-changer, attached electric light (for use on cloudy days), and adjustable focus and eye base. “A special feature of this solid and ingeniously built viewer is the ability to make use of an additional lens in order to magnify the caption written in the center part of a stereo slide” (WestLicht). Ica wisely chose to use Richard’s dimensions for slide magazines, so that those of the earlier Taxiphote models could be used with the new Multiplast. “Without doubt, the Multiplast is a viewing apparatus of highest precision and versatility. When not in use, the apparatus is in its stylish design in polished mahogany wood with fine nickel fittings an ornament for any elegant room” (Eduard H. Tropsch). The 250 or more slides that accompany this viewer depict European scenes, mostly Germany, Eastern Europe and England.
In sound condition, all components apparently mechanically functional but not fully tested, unobtrusive vertical crack to cabinet door, a few small bumps and nicks, four slides fragmentary. A handsome piece of photographic history.