Thursday, November 11, 2010

Three Dimension Color Pictures

Everything new is old again.

3-D books and 3-D comics.  3-D movies and 3-D televisions.  21st century high tech?  Not really.  Sometimes it seems like we are reliving the 1950s all over again.  

Take the View-Master for instance.  It had been around since the 1939 New York World's Fair, but in its first decade or so it was marketed primarily as an adult product.  According to the website View-Master Resource, "The View-Master system was invented by William Gruber, an organ maker and avid photographer who lived in Portland, Oregon.  He had the idea to use the old idea of the stereoscope and update it with the new Kodachrome color film that had just hit the market. A chance meeting with  Harold Graves, the president of Sawyer's, Inc. (a company that specialized in picture post cards) got the idea off the ground and quickly took over the postcard business at Sawyer's."

In 1951, View-Master gained access to Disney via a business acquisition.  Sawyer's purchased Tru-Vue, its main competitor in regard to View-Master. The merger provided Sawyer's with an already existing license of Disney material.  Thus the View-Master line of products began a transition from grownup gadgets to toy box standards.  Just about every kid I grew up with seemed to have multiple View-Masters scattered about his or her household.

View-Master aggressively advertised its Disneyland reels, as evidenced by this advertisement from 1956:

 A few months later, the Mickey Mouse Club "came to life," as noted by this advertisement:

View-Master products continue to be popular to this day.  Mattel subsidiary Fisher Price currently owns the View-Master brand and Disney characters continue to populate those trademark white reels.


philphoggs said...

Very nice, thank you. Now to figure out a way to keep the slides from dropping out of the old reels.