I would go and see him every six months or so, to see how he was getting on in uncovering it, following a walk down the long, long pier. This would have to be on a day when the weather was lousy, as otherwise he would be too busy to talk to me selling ice creams, drinks etc. He did not give his phone number to anybody as people would ring him at 5.00 am to see “how the fish were biting etc” until he changed his number to an unlisted one that he would give to no one.
Years later he finally unearthed it and said I could have it for a dollar a year’s storage rental since he first promised it to me i.e. $20. This stereo viewer was most likely made by a coin op machine operator who lived opposite him, who had a coin op machine located in the shop. I had bought this machine from him years earlier, a Mercury strength tester illustrated below.
The dreamt of Caillescope etc. viewer thus turned out to be the incomplete wreck of what looked like a homemade item. As I wrote previously, I sold it on unrestored to another collector who put it on ebay last year, still unrestored.
The next photo is the Beauty on Parade. I got this in a wrecked condition from Melbourne’s Luna Park amusement centre. The photo shows it as I got it in its unrestored condition. I always thought it was an American machine, but Gameswat thinks that this is an Australian made copy (50’s or 60’s). Also shown here is another example of this machine, called 3D Beauty on Parade.
The other Australian stereo viewer was probably made in South Australia. Here are some photos of it. One photo shows two of these in their original condition behind a Mutoscope model S and a Bolland’s Auto stereoscope.
Another photo shows the case of one without its marquee and metal outside the viewer eyepiece. Yet another photo shows the mechanism of one of these machines restored some years ago by Gameswat.
My coin op machine collection did eventually include an early American Cail-o-Scope stereo viewer, a British (Bolland I think) art deco Auto Stereoscope, a very early French stereo viewer with glass photographic stereo plates and another British art deco machine, the floorstanding Peerless stereo viewer which has a really excellent mechanism. All of these were extensively restored by me.
Although not in my collection there are a number of the British Art-Arama Show stereo viewers held in other people’s collections in Australia.