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of the four images are combined. In both these cases each picture is seen double, and when the two innermost of the four, thus produced, unite, the original object is seen in relief. The simplest of these methods is to converge the optical axes to a point nearer to us than the pictures, and this may be best done by holding up a finger between the eyes and the pictures, and placing it at such a distance that, when we see it single, the two innermost of the four pictures are united. If the finger is held up near the dissimilar pictures, they will be slightly doubled, the two images of each overlapping one other; but by bringing the finger nearer the eye, and seeing it singly and distinctly, the overlapping images will separate more and more till they unite. We have, therefore, made our eyes a stereoscope, and we may, with great propriety, call it the Ocular Stereoscope. If we wish to magnify the picture in relief, we have only to use convex spectacles, which will produce the requisite magnifying power; or what is still better, to magnify the united pictures with a powerful reading-glass. The two single images are hid by advancing the reading-glass, and the other two pictures are kept united with a less strain upon the eyes.

As very few people can use their eyes in this manner, some instrumental auxiliary became necessary, and it appears to us strange that the simplest method of doing this did not occur to Mr. Elliot and Mr. Wheatstone, who first thought of giving us the help of an instrument. By enabling the left eye to place an image of the left-hand picture upon the right-hand picture, as seen by the naked eye, we should have obtained a simple instrument, which might be called the Monocular Stereoscope, and which we shall have occasion to describe. The same contrivance applied also to the right eye, would make the instrument Binocular. Another simple contrivance for assisting the eyes would have been to furnish them with a minute opera-glass, or a small astronomical telescope about an inch long, which, when held in the hand or placed in a pyramidal box, would unite the dissimilar pictures with the greatest facility and perfection. This form of the stereoscope will be afterwards described under the name of the Opera-Glass Stereoscope.

Description of the Ocular Stereoscope.

A stereoscope upon the principle already described, in which the eyes alone are the agent, was contrived, in 1834, by Mr. Elliot, as we have already had occasion to state. He placed the binocular pictures, described in Chapter I., at one end of a box, and without the aid either of lenses or mirrors, he obtained a landscape in perfect relief. I have examined this stereoscope, and have given, in Fig. 8, an

[graphic][merged small]

accurate though reduced drawing of the binocular pictures executed and used by Mr. Elliot. I have also united the

two original pictures by the convergency of the optic axes beyond them, and have thus seen the landscape in true relief. To delineate these binocular pictures upon stereoscopic principles was a bold undertaking, and establishes, beyond all controversy, Mr. Elliot's claim to the invention of the ocular stereoscope.

If we unite the two pictures in Fig. 8, by converging the optic axes to a point nearer the eye than the pictures, we shall see distinctly the stereoscopic relief, the moon being in the remote distance, the cross in the middle distance, and the stump of a tree in the foreground.

If we place the two pictures as in Fig. 9, which is the position they had in Mr. Elliot's box, and unite them,


by looking at a point beyond them we shall also observe the stereoscopic relief. In this position Mr. Elliot saw the relief without any effort, and even without being conscious that he was not viewing the pictures under ordinary vision. This tendency of the optic axes to a distant convergency is so rare that I have met with it only in one person.

As the relief produced by the union of such imperfect pictures was sufficient only to shew the correctness of the principle, the friends to whom Mr. Elliot shewed the instrument thought it of little interest, and he therefore neither prosecuted the subject, nor published any account of his contrivance.

Mr. Wheatstone suggested a similar contrivance, without either mirrors or lenses. In order to unite the pictures by converging the optic axes to a point between them and the eye, he proposed to place them in a box to hide the lateral image and assist in making them unite with the naked eyes. In order to produce the union by looking at a point beyond the picture, he suggested the use of " a pair of tubes capable of being inclined to each other at various angles," the pictures being placed on a stand in front of the tubes. These contrivances, however, though auxiliary to the use of the naked eyes, were superseded by the Keflecting Stereoscope, which we shall now describe.

Description of the Reflecting Stereoscope.

This form of the stereoscope, which we owe to Mr. Wheatstone, is shewn in Fig. 10, and is described by him in the following terms :—" Aa' are two plane mirrors, (whether of glass or metal is not stated,) about four inches square, inserted in frames, and so adjusted that their backs form an angle of 90° with each other; these mirrors are fixed by their common edge against an upright b, or, which was less easy to represent in the drawing against the middle of a vertical board, cut away in such a manner as to allow the eyes to be placed before the two mirrors. c, d are two sliding boards, to which are attached the upright boards D, D', which may thus be removed to different distances from the mirrors. In most of the experiments hereafter to be detailed it is necessary that each upright board shall be at the same distance from the mirror which


Fig. 10.

is opposite to it. To facilitate this double adjustment, I employ a right and a left-handed wooden screw, r, I; the two ends of this compound screw pass through the nuts e, e', which are fixed to the lower parts of the upright boards D, D, so that by turning the screw pin p one way the two boards will approach, and by turning them the other they will recede from each other, one always preserving the same distance as the other from the middle line/; E, E' are pannels to which the pictures are fixed in such manner that their corresponding horizontal lines shall be on the same level; these pannels are capable of sliding backwards or forwards in grooves on the upright boards D, D\ The apparatus having been described, it now remains to explain the manner of using it. The observer must place his eyes as near as possible to the mirrors, the right eye

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