Thursday, February 12, 2009


A View-Master is a device for viewing 3-D images (stereo images) on a paper disc. It's now considered a children's toy, but originally marketed for adults.
My grandmother had two. One was handheld and the other plugged in like a movie projector. It was metal and got really hot. She had a little pull down screen and it was just like the movies. I still remember the clicking sound when you changed the picture. I still have them and take them out once in a while for a little road trip back in time.
It all started in 1911 with Sawyer's Photo Services. The company reproduced photographic postcards and album sets for souvenirs.
The View-Master disc holds 14 films slides, but really only 7 pairs. Two film slides are viewed simultaneously, one for each eye, creating binocular depth perception. In 1940, the View-Master quickly took over the post card business.
The military used them for training and purchased 100,00 viewers and over 6 million discs. Can you imagine training for the military with View-Masters?
In 1951, Sawyers got the licensing rights to Disney Studios after purchasing Tru View, it's competitor. View-Master now is part of the National Toy Hall Of Fame.


Bruce said...

I just found your blog by you adding me in BlogCatalog. I read some of your articles and you brought me back to my youth with your nostolgic items. Great reasearch too.
I hope you enjoy my Site and stories too.

JD at I Do Things said...

I freaking love my ViewMaster (sadly, not the original) and have been collecting the slides of my childhood on ebay.

Viva la Viewmaster!

Atrueoriginall said...

I miss my ViewMaster(s).

I've bought a few for my daughter over the years but the thrill wasn't there. Then again, I wasn't looking at Lion King or Stitch when I was a kid, so hers weren't as meaningful to me. The thrill was gone. :(

Francesca Slone said...

I had the plastic hand-held ones of the early 90's. I think I had three of them, but a lot of reels. I just never seemed to get tire of them! Did you know they're still making them these days? They employ a few different techniques for getting 3D imagery, but the principle of the thing is still the same. Quite honestly, I'd love to get my hands on a newer Viewmaster, just to see how it compares to vintage ones!