Lestrade viewers were manufactured
in France using plastic from about 1954. They were available in a number
of different colours, the two most common being green and red. They take
a card that has ten stereo pairs and that generally have good quality
pictures and realistic stereo depth. The slides can be differentiated
from Stereoclic slides by their set of double sprocket holes between the
pictures (Stereoclic slides only have one sprocket hole per picture).
Lestrade slides are primarily geographic in nature, although there is a
small range of children's subjects, as well as sets of cards entitled "Etudes
de Plastiques" which are of nudes.
A very early bakelite Lestrade
This viewer is made from bakelite and
is riveted together. It is heavier than the later plastic variety and
the slide advance mechanism is made from heavier gauge metal. This causes more wear on slides
than the later plastic variety of viewer pictured
below. This early style bakelite Lestrade viewer is quite uncommon and
commands a considerably higher price than the later plastic Simplex
viewers used rivets to hold the body together. It is possible, if great
care is taken, to remove these rivets for internal repair and cleaning.
The small end of the rivet is actually a screw and unscrews
The viewer below has an all metal advance mechanism
and lever, however, unlike the viewer above the body is made from
plastic. The body is held together using screws. It dates to around
1958 Model with metal advance lever and screw
Two examples of later Lestrade Stereo
Viewers with plastic advance levers
The viewer on the right is the
older of the two, dated at around 1968, the one on the left dates to the
mid to late 1970's. The green right-hand viewer screws together and has
a plastic advance lever, the newer red viewer just snaps together.
Notice the subtle differences in the
light apertures and lens surrounds.
Suprex Lestrade Focusing Viewer
This is the top of the range Lestrade viewer and can
be focused. The focusing lever can be seen between the eye-pieces and is
moved from left to right. The viewer gives a superb, clear image which is
significantly enlarged when compared to the standard viewer. The body of
the viewer is about 1.5cm wider than those shown above. This model is
relatively uncommon and so fetches a reasonably high price at auction.
An older version of the Suprex Viewer. Notice the
completely different advance mechanism. The entire advance knob, lever and
slide advance plate are all made from metal. In the newer version they are
all made from plastic. The focusing lever is red on the earlier model.
Lestrade Folding Viewer
A simple but very effective Lestrade
Folding viewer. The card is manually inserted into a slot at the bottom
of the viewer and then pushed upwards, frame by frame. Despite the
simple appearance of this viewer if is excellent to use and gives very
clear and bright images. When folded into it's flat position is is only
Lestrade viewers have been
manufactured in a large variety of colours over the years
Two Lestrade Slides. (The one one
the left is an older version)
A couple of scans taken from
Two scans of catalogue front