Jun 22, 2011

Vintage View-Master (1950s)

Tucked away in a basement cabinet at my folks place I found my mom's old View-Master from the early fifties.  I remember we had the red plastic ones when I was a kid - my first time working with film reels (sorta).  I never actually used this one, but I'm pretty sure my older brother must have as there were reels from several decades.   

The collection of reels included everything from The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh to Queen Elizabeth II's coronation ceremony.  I always loved storybooks on my View-Master, especially the ones where the scenes had been constructed like stop motion animations.  When you added the 3D element, it was a really neat visual toy that made you want to explore as many reels as possible.

This vintage View-Master (Model C) was made out of metal and was manufactured between 1946 and 1955.  In contrast to the plastic ones of my childhood, this ones metal shutter felt far more mechanical.  

It's been kept in a neat little wooden box.  The reels are stored on one side, and a small cubby provides a place for the View-Master to sit. This box was obviously custom made as the original view-master packaging was a cardboard box.

Reels of historical events or world wonders like Niagara Falls were particularly interesting to find.  I saw Niagara Falls over a decade ago in 2000, and I always find it fascinating to compare how much things have changed, or how you remember something and then see it differently.

Some of the View-Master reels were showing their age and were a bit fragile, but much like the coins I collect, I actually prefer stuff like this when it's clear that it's had a history. Especially when it's involving my family. 

I imagine they still make View-Masters, however there's a lot more competition out there these days.  It is still a pretty charming and unique toy though. I appreciate the novelty of it even more now than I did when I was little.


Stella said...

This is just amazing! What a great find! This would be a treasure for me.

Kim said...

How cool! Your mom obviously took very good care of it. I love the box. I had a Gaf View-Master and reels when I was a kid. I've taken an interest in them again. Unfortunately, I no longer have mine. I bought another viewer, and I've been collecting reels. I also appreciate it now more than I did back then.