Phot. Piotr Ligier


The viewer for three-dimensional pictures, known as the Photo計lasticon, was invented in Germany in the second half of the 19th century.

The new invention soon became popular, enabling everyone to visit the most distant parts of the world, at a reasonable cost, without having to undertake an expensive and risky journey. The three-dimensional pictures produced by a special dual-lens camera provided an amazing illusion of reality.

Thus, the Age of Steam, offered the average citizen the possibility of enjoying virtual tourism without the usual restrictions of time and space. Photo計lasticons (known as Kaiser計anorama in Germany) appeared in every corner of the world. By the turn of the century they already numbered about 250 in the whole of Europe.
However in time, the Brothers Lumière in Paris introduced their cinema of „living pictures” — an appealing invention which soon displaced the Photo計lasticons. Gradually, the strange, impractical Photo計lasticon drums were forgotten.

The earliest mention of a Photo計lasticon in Warsaw appeared in the newspaper „Kurjer Warszawski” in 1901. The picture show came into being in Jerusalem Avenue 51 about 1905 where it continues as the only installation which remains on its original site. It has survived because it helped people to bear Nazi oppression in the darkest period of World War II. It served the Polish Resistance as a secret contact point And it was here too, soon after the war ended in 1945, while Warsaw still lay in ruins, that sunny, friendly pictures of a happier age could be seen which held the promise of a brighter future.

In the 50s and 60s they created a slit in the Iron Curtain: here people could safely meet, listen to jazz and look at pictures of London and Paris. Even today, the Warsaw Photo計lasticon has remained a magic place where the real-unreal figures of the old pictures appear to meet their modern audience An audience, that comes and goes, returning years later to renew its experience of real-unreal memories and impressions.


In the Photoplastikon Drum

The gears turn, the rods are raised
From one cog to the next, they transfer the driving force
Of yesterday, further, ever further
Through the stream of cars, through the clatter of trams,

Mr. Joseph invites us
On a journey that for a century
Has lasted just twenty minutes.
The gears turn, the rods are raised

To the accompaniment of music the pictures roll on,
All this is for you, dear viewer,
The giant drum turns slowly,
Like the cosmos, back to to the world of the past.





Phot. Michal Sadowski


That is how the poet, Tadeusz Chudy, saw the Photoplasticon.
Mr. Joseph, the owner of the Photo計lasticon who died in 1980, was the poet's father.
Now, the owner of Photoplasticon is Mr Thomas Chudy,
the son of Tadeusz Chudy and the grandson of Mr Joseph.

Address:   Al. Jerozolimskie 51, 00-697 Warszawa (enter through the courtyard)

Open everyday (except Monday): 10-18.

The restoration was carried out by Paul and Ludwig Orthwein.

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