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. . .

1915 - 1990

Dr Harold R Lutes

Optometrist, inventor, designer, stereo photographer, business owner, Founder and

First President of the

Stereo Club of Southern California

A Solid Society - Annals of the 
Stereo Club of Southern California
1960 Harold Lutes newspaper image colori
HONORED - Dr Harold R Lutes, South Pasadena optometrist who is winner of the 1960 Realist Award of Photographic Society of America, displays his award plaque and a stereo projector which he invented.
1949 Dr Harold Lutes & Cory Davis San Ga
1949 Dr Harold Lutes and Cory Davis, San Gabriel 
Photography Trade Show displaying the Id
Photography Trade Show displaying the Idealite light box designed by Dr Harold Lutes  
1985 Harold Lutes holding a Seton Rochwite light box for stereo slide mounting, modified with an added viewer, in David and Susan's home in Duarte, CA by Susan Pinsky

In July of 1955 in camera stores
around Los Angeles a simple hectograph
flyer appeared. It was also mailed out to
members of the Stereo Division of the
Photographic Society of America who
lived in Southern California and to some
of the members of The Hollywood Stereoscopic Society which had been formed in 1950 but was rapidly becoming defunct.

"ATTENTION - STEREO FANS - ATTENTION" read the heading on the flyer. It announced that Thursday, July 21st, 1955 at 8 o'clock P.M. at Plummer Park, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles the "First meeting of a 'new STEREO CLUB and their friends'" was to be held and "sponsored by PSA Stereo Division." The letter was signed by and was the handiwork of Dr. Harold R. Lutes, Chairman the Western Stereo Division of the Photographic Society of America.

"An outstanding and instructive STEREO PROGRAM will be provided, featuring many Exhibition slides as well as discussions of interesting and instructive STEREO subjects," wrote Lutes on the flyer. "This is the first of a series of similar meetings. Please come; bring your wife or hubby or your sweetheart. Also bring a friend who is interested in STEREO and who will make a good PSA'er."

Lutes closed the flyer by signing off with "Yours for better STEREOS." The Stereo Division of the PSA had been active for some years. On the "Hollywood Bulletin Board" page of the March, 1953 issue of American Cinematographer magazine it was announced that "Karl Struss, ASC, has been elected chairman of the Stereo Division of the PSA, which is holding its 1953 annual convention in Los Angeles in August." Karl Struss was a prolific Hollywood cameraman who, along with Charles Rosher Jr., had won the very first Academy Award for Best Cinematography for the 1927 film Sunrise, directed by F.W. Murnau, which also won the Oscar for Best Picture. Struss had been a practicing pictorial photographer since the 1930s and took up stereophotography when it became popular.

It seems likely that the Stereo Division of the PSA was formed sometime after 1947 when Seton Rochwite's STEREO REALIST camera appeared on the market. Minutes in blue typescript from the "Official Files of the Stereo Club of Southern California, 1955-1968" show that a meeting was held at the home of Dr. Harold Lutes on August 10, 1955 "in connection with formation of PSA STEREO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA."
At the meeting Dr. Lutes read a letter from
Paul J. Wolfe, Chairman of the Stereo Division of PSA. The contents of the letter
are not divulged in the minutes.

There was discussion regarding the meeting place and it was noted that the Great Hall at Plummer Park was available the 4th Wednesday of each month.

The decision was made to meet at this
place and time. Programs were discussed
but nothing was definitely scheduled. It
was decided, however, to end the night's programs "with showing of a number of stereo slides, about 25, which [the] audience will bring for projection." The meeting was then adjourned and the minutes are signed by Ina Lank.

Minutes for the next meeting of the group, unsigned but presumably kept by Ina Lank, are headlined as NOTES ON BUSINESS PORTION OF NOVEMBER, 1955 MEETING.

"Dr. Lutes stated this was the third meeting
of this group," wrote Lank, "and that the
committee which has so far fostered this
movement believed that there was sufficient interest shown to warrant forming a permanent organization."

The minutes continue by stating that Lutes "then asked John C. Stick if he would carry on the organization." Stick reviewed what had so far been done and presented a typewritten form of Constitution and By-Laws to the group. He explained the articles and emphasized that "membership in this
organization was predicated upon membership in the PSA."

It was then moved and seconded by the group "that we form a club to be known as
THE PSA STEREO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA." The motion was carried unanimously. Officers were duly elected

and they consisted of Harold Lutes President, John C. Stick-Vice President, Mrs. Ina Lank Secretary and Max J. Bruensteiner-Treasurer. It was decided to "dispense with announcing the meeting by letter with return card enclosed, except upon special occasion where so doing would serve a useful purpose." The Stereo Club of Southern California had been officially formed.

1912 Karl Struss cinematographer large-C
1952 H.R. Lutes Dual Stereo Projector pa
lutes_proj_early model.jpg
compco-stereo-3d-slide_projector without
Karl Struss, 
Academy Award
and member
of Stereo Club
of So California
Compco 500 3-D projector manual
Compco 500 projector 5.jpg
Compco Triad 3-D Projector
lutes-precision-stereo-film-cutter_1 wit
Rose Up Close by Dr. Harold Lutes, APSA.
Rose Up Close by Dr. Harold Lutes, APSA
Food For Flying by Dr. Harold Lutes, APS
Food For Flying by Dr. Harold Lutes, APSA
Shower of Stars by Dr. Harold Lutes, APS
Shower of Stars by Dr. Harold Lutes, APSA

Positively the easiest and fastest Film Cutter for Stereo Realist Format


LUTES Precision Stereo FILM CUTTER Works with most vintage stereo cameras, including Kodak, TDC, Revere, Universal, Delta, Graflex, Tower, Wollensak, Kindar, Owla, etc

The Lutes cutter was designed by Dr. Harold Lutes, a stereo authority, in the 1950s.  Each unit had a serial number.

Easily used by threading your film through the cutter. Every time you raise the handle the film is automatically transported by 5 perforations. Lowering the handle cuts the film "to hairline accuracy".

You can cut an entire roll of Realist format stereo film in less than a minute. A little tray is used to collect the film chips and separate R and L. 

Lutes Cutter Promo_1.jpg
Lutes Cutter Promo_2.jpg
1989 Harold Lutes (1955-57) by Susan Pin

  Enjoying the confidence and respect of his patients and colleagues, Dr. Harold Raymond Lutes has achieved an important position in the community, not only in his profession as an Optometrist, but also for his inventive genius.  He holds many patents on medical, optical and photographic devices, is well known for his scientific work in these fields, and has 57 major inventions to his credit.  He is the author of articles in Optometric trade publications.  The Optometric Weekly of November 10, 1960, published a story and award for Dr. Lutes' contribution to Stereo Photography.

Dr. Lutes has the distinction of being honored with Associate Membership in the largest photographic organization in the world, the Photographic Society of America.  In 1958 he received the Service Award from the same organization and in 1960 the Realist Award for "Greatest Contribution to Stereo Photography and Vision".  These contributions include the design of many photographic instruments and processes for stereo vision and photography.  Dr. Lutes designed "The Triad", the only stereo slide projector commercially available in this country.  He was recently given Fellowship with the Southern California Council of Camera Clubs, which is the highest award given.


During the last two years, Dr. Lutes has given much attention to contact lens research, both in fitting and manufacturing processes.  During his 18 years of practice, he has fitted hundreds of patients with contact lenses, and he applies his scientific knowledge to the design for each individual case.  He has designed many surgical instruments for the Huntington Hospital Research Foundation.

Since 1950 Dr. Lutes has owned and operated the H. L. Instrument Company in South Pasadena, which was organized for research and manufacturing of photographic, medical and optical equipment.  At the Indenticolor Laboratories, another one of Dr. Lutes' scientific enterprises, he produces color slide duplicates for business, education institutions and industry.


Born in Christopher, Illinois, on April 20, 1916, Dr. Lutes is the son of Mr. Russell Raymond and Mrs. Minnie B. (Bray) Lutes, who live in Santa Ana, California.  Dr. Lutes received his first technical training in photography and his inquisitiveness about the subject matter of photography and optics from his father, who is a well known portrait photographer, and has been interested in photography for 60 years.  The father of Dr. Lutes has been an active member of the Methodist Church for many years, and helped to found the Methodist Organization "The Methodist Men", the plans for which were first started in the living room of his home.  The organization is now worldwide.  The mother of Dr. Lutes is also an ardent supporter of the Methodist Church, and has done church work in Santa Ana since 1921.

Dr. Lutes' family moved to Santa Ana in 1921 where he attended grade and high school.  He continued his education at Santa Ana College, and graduated from Los Angeles College of Optometry in 1938.  He took a summer course in Psychological Optics at Ohio State University and extension courses at the University of Southern California and the University of California in Los Angeles in Engineering.

After termination of his service during World War II in the Army Signal Corps from 1942 to 1943, Dr. Lutes set up practice in the same block on South Garfield Avenue in Alhambra, where he now maintains his professional offices at 35 South Garfield Avenue in Alhambra.

Dr. Lutes married Dorothy J. Johns in the Presbyterian Church in La Crescenta on October 21, 1944.  Mrs. Lutes, the daughter of Dr. L. Johns, prominent dentist and pioneer of Montrose, California, belongs to the women's organization of the Kiwanis Club, and is past president of the ladies' auxiliary of the San Gabriel Valley Optometric Organization.  Dr. and Mrs. Lutes have two children, a daughter Nancy Lutes, aged 11, and a son, William Harold Lutes, aged 6.  Both attend Willard Elementary School in Pasadena.

Dr. Lutes is past president of the South Pasadena Kiwanis Club, and past president of the San Gabriel Valley Optometric Association.

The hobbies Dr. Lutes enjoys are photography, hi-fi music recording and medical research work. His philosophy of life is "improve living" by scientific research.

1989 Harold Lutes by Susan Pinsky


Society of Motion Picture

and Television Engineers

1953 Nominations
Pacific Coast Section Meeting

The February Pacific Coast Section meeting with a program entitled "Three DimensionaI Motion Pictures" brought out an unprecedented attendance of 800. It was originally intended to open the meeting to all interested motion picture and television engineers, but the response to the first notice was so great that follow-up notices had to be sent advising that admittance would be restricted to members
of the SMPTE plus members of the Hollywood Section of the American Society of

The program, held on the sound stages at the Republic Picture Studios, presented speakers from the 3-D field and short film demonstrations. Sol Lesser Productions provided a Stableford screen from England. Members examined it and asked questions about it following the meeting. Mr. Lesser very kindly provided the Polaroid glasses for viewing the films.

Dr. Harold R. Lutes, President of the H-L Instrument Company, and a manufacturer and developer of optical instruments and photographic equipment, spoke briefly on some of the psychological problems encountered in stereoscopic photography and illustrated his discussion with a series of slides designed to show the optical illusions and depth perception
sensations possible with three-dimensional

Raymond J. Spottiswoode, Technical Director of Stereo Techniques, Ltd., London, spoke on "Practical Aspects of Three-Dimensional Motion Picture Photography," and showed three of Stereo Techniques' films, one an animated production. Mr. Spottiswoods's discussion
was of great interest to the group, very well presented and greatly heightened by a charming sense of humor and understanding of his audience.

Raphael G. Wolff, President of Raphael G. Wolff Studio and Stereo-Cine, Inc., offered film demonstrations from current productions to illustrate some of the results available today to the professional motion picture producer or commercial film producer through the use of stereo photography.-Philip C. Galdwell, Secretary Treasurer, Pacific Coast Section.
Compco Triad projector ad.jpg
Compco Projector Table with outlets, mini light box, and electric options

Aug 1976      from the  "3D News"
Recently I drove over to Dr. Harold Lutes APSA house in Pasadena to accept the 9-foot
stereo screen he gave to the Club, and while there I visited with him for over  an hour.   
As many of you know, he was one of the founders of this Stereo Club of So California (now, and its first President twenty years ago. He designed the   Triad stereo projector and numerous    3-D items, and does research and development for a medical group in Pasadena. Now retired, he keeps busy with his R&D, and plans to move soon to   Idaho, where he will continue his inventing.

One of his latest projects is a  machine for neurosurgeons to use while operating on the human brain. He showed  me two 2x2 transparencies, taken with two SLR cameras, of a brain operation  which I fused by natural vision into a fantastic 3-D slide. With this device,  the surgeon can operate while seeing his movements in third dimension, a truly
revolutionary procedure.


I felt that stereo has much more to offer than ribbons,  medals and star ratings after leaving this man's incredible machine shop, a  dream few can ever realize.

                                                                                      -- Russ Terrill

                                                       SCSC President 1965-66

1953 November
Modern Photography magazine advertisement for Compco Triad stereo slide mounts and Triad Stereo Projector
1953 Nov Compco Triad slide mounts and p
Please Note - all photos will enlarge bo
Box 6x4 your 3D images are welcome box with bars.jpg
Triad stereo slide mounts with text.jpg
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