THE FAIRY STEREOSCOPIC
E. & H.T. Anthony & Company, New York 1884-1898
The Fairy Camera was an upscale version of Anthony's Novelette Camera, having nickel-plated fittings and a center-geared track with rack-and-pinion focusing.
Reportedly introduced in July,1884, advertisements for the Fairy appear by December,1884 in The Philadelphia Photographer, and in Anthony's Photographic Bulletin, Volume XV,1884. Both standard (square front) and stereoscopic (oval or rounded front) versions were available from the onset. Initially, the Fairy was offered in mahogany only from 1884 through at least December, 1886. As reflected in Anthony's Illustrated Catalogue of Amateur Photographic Equipments and Materials, January, 1888, the mahogany construction was now replaced by Circassian walnut, and this is how the Fairy would be offered through the end of production in 1898.
The stereoscopic version of the Fairy was equipped with an internal septum. The lens standard has two notches and the rear frame has two small holes to hold the septum in place. Outwardly, stereoscopic versions are readily identifiable by their oval-shaped fronts having a wider lens board to accommodate stereoscopic lenses or shutters.
The 5x8 stereoscopic mahogany example featured here, is shown alongside a Prosch Triplex Stereoscopic Shutter, typical of the Fairy's period and one of several stereoscopic shutters it could have been found with. The knurled focusing knob it's equipped with is also an earlier style, as knobs were depicted in the first advertisements seen for the camera in 1884 through at least January,1889. In Anthony's Illustrated Catalogue of Photographic Equipments and Materials for Amateurs, May,1891, both the grooved knurled knob and "ship's wheel" styles appear, and would continue to be depicted in their catalogue engravings for the Fairy through February,1898. Despite the knurled knobs being earlier, they are the style most Fairy Cameras are seen with today. This example is missing the binding screw required to lock the focus:
The other style of focusing knob found on Fairy Cameras resembles a "ship's wheel":
Per Anthony's catalogues, stereoscopic versions of the Fairy (referred to as stereo attachments) could be had in sizes 5x8, 6-1/2x8-1/2 and 8x10.
Despite being manufactured for nearly fourteen years, relatively few Fairy Cameras are seen today, and stereoscopic versions are very rarely encountered.
Prosch Triplex Stereoscopic Shutter
From Anthony's Illustrated Catalogue of Amateur Photographic Equipments and Materials, January, 1891