View-Master was first introduced at the New York World's Fair in 1939.  Intended as an alternative to the postcard with 7 3D Kodachrome images, it was originally marketed through photo shops, stationary stores and scenic attraction gift shops.

Today this tradition continues, but holds a back seat to subject matter aimed at a much younger audience. These are the subjects you typically find at your local Target store.

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.

Over the years 3D reels have been produced for Disneyland (since the opening), Many TV shows (you could see the Munsters in color and in 3D), Movies (E.T. Jurassic Park) and even for the US military for airplane/ship identification and range estimation.

For a more detailed History see Mary Ann and Wolfgang Sells site.

 

 
   
 

This site approved by the disembodied head of Lowell Thomas.

 

View-Master is a registered trademark of Fisher-Price, Inc.
All text and images Eddie Bowers 2007 with exceptions noted