Holmes, Oliver Wendell

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Holmes, Oliver Wendell

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  • Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Oliver Wendell Holmes was an American artist, physician and poet. Holmes studied at Harvard and in Paris, receiving his degree in 1836. In 1847, Holmes taught at Harvard as a professor of anatomy and physiology, eventually Holmes was appointed the Dean of Harvard Medical School till 1882. Holmes is most known for his poetry and technological contributions to the science of photography. Championing that photography was a transformative instrument combining memory with the appearance of modern social reality. In 1859, Holmes modification to Sir David Brewster’s compact stereoscopes allowed for a more lightweight and flexible object. Holmes stressed that a stereoscope needed two lenses and supporting frame to produce the perfect stereoscopic image, also adding slots to hold stereographs and a stand. His conscious decision to never patent his device created space for 80 years of stereoscope innovation and manufacturing across North America including the marketing of affordable stereoscopes for both professional and amateur photographers. Joseph L Bates designed the sliding card holder in Boston, Massachusett and honoured Holmes by naming his invention after him. Later, Holmes would published his essay “The Stereoscope and the Stereograph” where he discussed the development and manufacturing of the American stereoscope.


Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Joseph L. Bates ([between ca. 1850 and ca. 1870])

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Joseph L. Bates

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Holmes, Oliver Wendell

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