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By Euphrates
View-Master During the '40s, the Sawyer company produced reels for their View-Master viewer (born in 1939) that featured our nation's parks and landmarks like Colorado's Pikes Peak or Virgina's Luray Caverns. In 1951, View-Master stereo viewers were born when Tru-Vue, with their Stereochrome viewers and Disney licenses were acquired by Sawyer. This allowed the company to produce reels featuring popular Disney characters. The old Tru-Vu and Sawyer viewers and reels are some of the most sought after reels today. In 1966, General Aniline and Film Corporation or GAF, purchased Sawyer. GAF made reel sets of popular TV shows and movies from the '60s and '70s like Dark Shadows, Planet of the Apes and The Brady Bunch. In the '80s, Ideal bought the rights to View-Master and eventually sold them to Tyco, who still sells viewers and reels today.

After the birth of rock and roll, color TV, Pac Man, home computers and CDs - View-Masters are still amazing. They don't require batteries, electricity, firmware, or a PIN. Just pop in one a reel, line the arrow up with the top of the viewer, and depress the lever on the side of the viewer to start your 3-D journey! You could also follow the story with the bit of text that was exposed in the upper window in the middle of the viewer.

Each of the GAF sets came with 3 reels, a booklet and an envelope. The GAF packaging boasts that there are 21 stereo pictures in the packet or 7 on each reel. Of course there are actually 14 per reel as it takes 2 pictures to make one viewing. The two pictures for the stereo effect, are captured by cameras that have two lens, like binoculars. The results are truly stunning, even compared to all of the eye candy available to consumers today.

The viewers have gone through many transformations. GAF took them through their most dramatic changes, making them talk and projecting them on walls.

The subjects committed to reel since 1939 are too numerous to list here. There are also many reel, packing and viewer variations. There are plenty of helpful sites on the web that offer reel inventories and information on variations.

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