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The Great War in Stereoviews

Verascope Richard

Jules Richard took over management of his father’s camera business in 1876, and operated it with his brother for several years as Richard Frères. The firm is credited with the design of several innovative stereo cameras and viewers, some of which are shown in the 1926 advertisement below. The Verascope is the best known and was available in 45x107, 6x13, and 7x13 sizes.  Jules Richard was a noted photographer himself and continued in business until his death in 1930.


 Verascope Richard stereographic images of the war are the least common of the major manufacturers. Not enough of them have been seen to determine accurately how many different images were produced and how they were marketed. The glass stereoviews were marked “VERASCOPE RICHARD” in typescript. There were two numbering schemes. The first had 2- or 3-digit numbers and usually, but not always, were untitled. The second had 6-digit numbers and titles, either handwritten or typed.

Handwritten 3-digit number, no title.

308—The bandages, stretcher, and lack of weapons identify this as an aid station (poste de secours) behind the lines.

Handwritten 6-digit number and title.

150764—Somme/un tank anglais.

(Somme/an English tank)

Typed 6-digit number and title.

154654Vues de la Guerre de 1914/Aisne/Berry-au-Bac/Une villa après le bombardement

(Views of the war from 1914/Aisne/Berry-au-Bac/A villa after bombardment)

The primary Verascope Richard stereoviews were the ones with 6-digit numbers. Numbers 140xxx-168xxx appear to have been reserved for images of the war; civilian subjects bracket these series. This range does not mean the Richard firm produced 28,000 images of the war, but the full significance of the numbering scheme is not understood. The table below suggests that series 140xxx-159xxx show photographs of the war taken in chronological order between the beginning in 1914 and the Armistice in 1918. Views numbered 160xxx and higher show victory celebrations and ruins and were taken after the Armistice.

From To Series Number Seen Date
140141   Pas-de-Calais 1 1914
141312   Meuse 1 1914
141386 141389 Sur le front 2 1914-15
141824   Seine et Marne 1  
143020 143061 Seine et Marne 5 1914 Marne
144107   Pas-de-Calais 1  
144184 144223 Meuse 3 Poincaré à Sampigny en 1915
144272   Marne 1  
148689   Marne 1  
148823 148831 Belgium 2  
150701 150793 Somme 18 1916
150801 150802 Verdun, Meuse 2 1916
150831 150853 Meuse 3  
Gap—Must be more Verdun
152018 152187 Aisne 8  
153177 153180 Somme 2  
154579   Marne 1  
154613 154618 Meuse 2  
154645 154647 Reims 2 1917
154654 154663 Aisne 3 1917
154710   Marne, Champagne, Chemin des Dames 1 1917
155986   Pas-de-Calais ou artillerie 1  
158789   Londres ou alliés 1  
159525 159799 Reims, Marne 9  
159878   Champagne 1  
159896 159971 Aisne 6 mai-sep 1918
161946   Belgium—US regt 1  
162490 162538 Fête de la victoire 4 14 juillet 1919
163228 163389 Pas-de-Calais (Arras, Lens) ruines 3  
163409 163465 Somme (et Amiens) ruines 4  
163489 163571 Reims ruines 5  
165575 165686 Somme ruines 3  
166196 166335 Flanders ruines 10 juillet 1919
167927 167931 Fête de la victoire 2 14 juillet 1919
167969 168022 Somme ruines 2  

Individual views were numbered consecutively into sub-series covering one region or subject. For example, 18 views of the Somme battlefield numbered between 150701 and 150793 suggest there may have been a sub-series of 100 views covering the Somme battle in 1916. Regional coverage appears to have been organized by French department: Pas-de-Calais, Meuse, Seine-et-Marne, Somme, etc. There was at least one topical sub-series: Sur le front (At the front—1914-15); more views are needed to determine if 155986 and 158789 represented regional or topical series. After the Armistice, at least two series covered the Fête de la victoire (Victory Celebration) in addition to regional coverage of the war’s devastation.

Three 3-digit views with titles have been seen, all of which have a "K" suffix. One of those (478K) refers to the battle of Verdun, dating it to 1916 or later. More such views will need to be examined before their relationship to the 6-digit views can be determined.

Title List    Images

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