expo 67 lounge

Mid-century fashion, vintage pop culture and retro cool... from Expo 67 and beyond.

10 October 2006

The View-Master

The View-Master was first introduced at the 1939 World's Fair. Originally intended as a souvenir (and not a children's toy), View-Master was sold at stationary and photo stores as an alternative to postcards.

View-Master simulates depth perception. The simultaneous viewing of two images, one for each eye, causes a 3 dimensional effect.

The View-Master was invented by William Gruber, an organ-maker and photographer of Portland, Oregon. A chance meeting with Harold Graves, president of a postcard company named Sawyer's, made Gruber's invention a reality. View-Master soon became's Sawyer's main product line. At the height of it's popularity, View-Master sold 35mm cameras that would produce View-Master reels and projectors with which to view them.

In 1951, Sawyer's bought over Tru-Vue, the main competitor to View-Master. Tru-Vue owned the licensing rights to Walt Disney cartoon characters, and with these images, View-Master would begin it's slow evolution into a toy for children.

In 1966, Sawyer's was bought by General Aniline & Film, at which point fewer scenic reels were being produced, being replaced instead by cartoon and toy related reels. Over the years, View-Master became more and more popular with children. Today, View-Master is owned by Fisher-Price.

Three sets of reels were produced for Expo 67: General Tour, National Pavilions, and Night Scenes & La Ronde. I love these reels as they truly give a 3 dimensional sensation of Expo!

images: (top) viewmaster.co.uk
(center) metropolismag.com
(bottom) kipbrockman.com

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Blogger stinkypaw said...

I just loved those things - I had some many different reels! Ahh the memories! Thanks for the info on how it works, didn't know that!

10:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a month ago i found a view-master. There were no "Expo", just cartoons like "Casper", "Flinstones", some Disney classics and random series(Rockfeller Center, Alphine Dreams and etc.)
It was fun. All dated from mid- and late 60s.
I wonder,are there any modern View-Master series?

4:14 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have just discovered your blog, through the recommendation of a friend...

M. Richard, B. Bardot, N. Sinatra, Cool pics of Expo '67... Honey, this blog's for me!!!

I also own these wonderful Expo Viewmasters...and somewhere in my parent's house is my Expo '67 Passport. Of course, I was not quite three years old at the time. Nonetheless, a great period (and pivotal point)in Montreal's history.

Will stop by every now and then to check out new photos and articles.

JAW fan

11:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have posted "Mushrooms in Their Natural Habitats" and photos of the case and reels on my blog.
and put a link to this blog.

2:04 am  
Blogger Mr Viewmaster said...

Thanks for the credit to the expo Pic above. There is a set for sale at
Canada in 3D

or my googling


11:03 am  

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