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The Great War in Stereoviews


Nothing is known about this company beyond what can be inferred from its products. For most of the period that World War sets were sold, the company name was not used on its stereoviews or catalogs. The wartime catalog can be identified as coming from Paris-Stéréo because of its correlation with a postwar catalog clearly identified as that of Paris-Stéréo. The first catalog lists ten series of 12 stereoviews, while the postwar catalog lists twenty series.  Comparison of the two catalogs shows the composition of series changed over time, with newer, more interesting views replacing older ones. It is not likely that more than 240 World War views were ever offered for sale at one time.

Paper and glass Paris-Stéréo views have distinctive typed titles in the center (glass and early paper) or under the right image (paper from about 1916 on), so they can be readily identified despite the absence of a company name. About 320 views are known, but from the numbering scheme there could be almost 400. The first group of images is numbered 2597-2959 (363). The first image showing soldiers wearing the steel helmet (casque Adrian) was number 2834; the helmet was introduced in mid-1915, so 237 images date from before that time. Two series in the wartime catalog show the offensive in Champagne that began in September 1915, and the highest number from those sets is 2867. Thus, at least 270 of the theoretically produced 400 views date from the first year and a half of the war. Surprisingly, none of the later images was attributed to operations in Verdun. A group of 30 views numbered 3479-3508 was probably added in the last year of the war. A few stereoviews in the same style but with 3-digit numbers are known and may have been made by Paris-Stéréo.    Title List    Images

The technical quality of Paris-Stéréo views was good. The later editions were unmounted, but printed on glossy photo paper. However, the images were generally uninteresting and even postwar sets relied upon the 1915 images, so the new postwar views produced by LSU and other manufacturers must have seriously reduced Paris-Stéréo's market share. Troutman and Fisherview were the only American users of Paris-Stéréo images. Shown below is a postwar advertisement for Paris-Stéréo; one of the background views in the ad is a war image. Also included is a lithograph that may have been produced by the company.


Vues Stéréoscopiques Edition Paris-Stéréo (Marque Déposée)
Vues sur cartolines ou bromure glacées. Format 8½x17 par séries de 12 vues en pochettes
Vues de la Guerre, Scènes du front, vingt séries numérotées de 1 à 20.

Stereoviews by Paris-Stéréo (Registered Trademark)
Views on card or bromide glass. Format 8½x17 in series of 12 views in envelopes.
War Views, Scenes from the Front, Twenty Series Numbered 1 to 20.

(Courtesy Wim Van de Hulst)

2705 Pour résister aux gaz et aux acides (For protection against gas and acids)

Blow-up of photo in the red box above.  Although blurry, it clearly matches the left half of stereoview 2705.

Vues de France
Verdun—Ce qui reste de Fleury

Views of France
Verdun—What remains of Fleury

This is the only known example of a Paris-Stéréo lithograph. The crude attempt at coloring the left image, the pasted images, and the handwritten title suggest this may not have been produced by the company.

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