Charlie A. Piper
June 27, 1914 - Sept 29, 2001
3-D Camera Repair Doctor
Charles Piper was a part time optical engineer and former amateur telescope maker when he bought his first Stereo Realist.
Until joining the Stereo Club of Southern California (SCSC) in 1966, he made stereograms purely for his own amusement. In 1969 and 1970 he began writing a monograph on stereo, which he felt was needed to help the new members of the club get started on the right foot. A few excerpts of this material were printed in the 3-D NEWS monthly newsletter of the Stereo Club in 1970 - 1974, and in 1975 one page selections became a regular feature. When stereographers outside the club saw 3-D NEWS asked for reprints of THE TECHNICAL PAGE back to Installment #1, it was decided to make the back issues available at cost to all interested stereo- graphers. Beginning in 1979 the reprints were put together with a Table of Contents, Index and Glossary under the title The Technical Page.
Charles Piper was President of SCSC from 1975 - 1977. He instilled the importance of accurate slide mounting into all those fortunate to have met him.
Charles Piper repaired hundreds of stereo cameras for people all over the world. He was a graduate of M.I.T. and a Registered Professional Engineer. He's the maker of these slides.
Charlie Piper, on left, at Photographic Society of America convention, with Charles Osborn far right, with others fiddling with the TDC stereo projector by anon
Male group of technicians evaluating the 3-D projector at the Photographic Society of America convention, Charles Osborn far right, with others fiddling with the TDC projector by Charlie Piper
1981 Charlie Piper, on left, at Photographic Society of America convention in Salt Lake City, UT
at a Luncheon and Learning by Susan Pinsky
1990 Daphne and Bill Shepard, Tony Alderson , Charlie Piper with his friend, Cynthia Brown, at the Stereo Club of So Calif holiday banquet at Shanghai Winter Garden restaurant by David Starkman
Charles A Piper was born June 27th, 1914 in Providence, Rhode Island, passed away September 29, 2001 in Torrance, CA. He attended Medford, Mass. public schools, Boston Latin School, Phillips Exeter Academy, and, in 1936, graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He spent the bulk of his career in aviation at Bendix Aviation Corp. and TRW Inc., Redondo Beach, from which he retired in 1981.
He enjoyed painting and sketching, was a member of the Palos Verdes Gem and Mineral Society, and was an expert in the repair of stereo cameras, earning himself the nickname "3-D Doctor".
He is survived by nieces and nephews David S. Quinlan of San Pedro, Kathleen T. Quinlan of Stoughton, MA, Janice C. Quinlan of Santa Fe, Christine A. Plungas (Trent) of Torrance (PO Box 807 Hermosa Beach, CA 90254), William C. Piper of Orangevale, and James S. Piper of Port Angeles, WA, and by his friend Cynthia Brown of Oceanside.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Jean Pouliot, sister, Calista Quinlan and brother, James Piper.
1971 Max and Valerie Bruensteiner, Russ (Pres SCSC 1965-66) and Frieda Terrill Dec
Stereo Club of So Calif banquet by Charlie Piper
Charlie Piper was SCSC President when David and I joined the club. Apparently there had been a major conflict when he won the election (normally there's only one person running, but that year there had been two). We weren't there at that exact time, but we heard that half the club quit when Charlie won. Obviously the not-so-flexible members quit. So, it was just the other people who were left, and we were thrilled.
We quickly were asked to be on the board, and I recall going to Charlie's for board meetings, where they were run according to Robert's Rules of Order, with the book on the table to refer to. What a long way we've come. Times have certainly changed.
Thoughts about Charlie from Susan Pinsky
1987 Judy Archer and Clare Merfield International Stereoscopic Union congress in Interlaken Switzerland by Charlie Piper
1972 Elmer Weidknecht, APSA SCSC Pres. in 1967-68 and Maude Osborn at Photographic Society of America convention by Charlie Piper
1972 Gerald Church, Elmer Weidknecht (Pres of SCSC 1967-68) and Helen Church in April
at Stereo Club of So. Calif banquet by Charles Piper
1971 George (Pres of SCSC 1959-60) and Veryle Pond Dec Stereo Club of So Calif. banquet
by Charlie Piper
We went to a lot of Photographic Society of America and National Stereoscopic Assn. annual conventions with him. It was always nice to be there with another member of SCSC. We always talked together a lot. He was very opinionated and cranky, but I always stood up to him, and we came to have a mutual respect. David and I both laugh, and love to recall the time he stated, at a gathering at the PSA convention, that the BEST ice cream flavor was coffee. This was in front of about 6-8 3-D photographers, as we all sat and ate different flavors of ice cream.We all jumped him and disputed his claim. It was very funny. Everything he did involved a design on a tablecloth or napkin, even this silly claim. He was a tough cookie, but with only a thin shell.
In 1987 he bought a new car. He wanted to buy an American brand, but he couldn't find anything made well enough to meet his standards, so he ended up buying a Mercedes.
He was quite particular, kept the car in the garage all the time, wouldn't let it go through an automatic car wash, as it would scrape the paint, and kept EVERY receipt for any work done on the car.
After he died we ended up buying that car from his niece. We paid $2000 and drove it for well over a decade, until it was falling apart from at every level. Charlie's hat was on the back ledge of the Mercedes the entire time we drove it. He was always in our hearts and our thoughts.
1971 Harold Candlish, Floyd Garton ( Pres SCSC 1972-74), Maudie and Stergis M. Stergis (1968-69) Dec Stereo Club of So Calif banquet by Charles Piper
1983 Charlie Piper and Susan Pinsky in Sept at Photographic Society of American convention in
San Francisco, CA by David Starkman
1971 Gladys Clark, Gladys and Bryan Riggs (Pres SCSC 1974-75) Stereo Club of So Calif banquet
by Charles Piper
Charlie was one of the few other people at the Stereo Club who documented meetings, events and banquets.
In 1979, when I started emphasizing that people should make provisions for their 3-D slides, cameras, gear and equipment in their wills or in writing for their families, I wrote articles that were published in many 3-D periodicals.
I listed in the article people and places that would appreciate receiving your 3-D collection, with a bit of a joke at the end about leaving it to me, if you had no one else.
Years later, when I received a letter from an attorney, saying I was named in Charlie's will, I never would have imagined that he would take that line seriously. But, we both enjoyed "people" pictures, and his club slides came to my home, where they would be put to good use in many ways.
He had been involved in the Stereo Club of So Calif long enough to have pictures of, and by, almost every SCSC President from the beginning of the club in 1955. I was able to assemble a 3-D show of all the Presidents images, and work, because of those Piper images, plus my own, and a few other stereographers. I'm still eternally grateful.
Please let this be a reminder to YOU to leave something in writing for your family, or friends, so that your own collection, digital or analog, doesn't get tossed into the trash.
Please, leave a list of a couple of possibilities: family, specific friends, a local library or museum, or last resort a thrift shop. Put it in your will, or just a letter in a file that will be found when you are gone. These images are treasures, and many future generations will appreciate them.