There are some toys that just last through generations and this is absolutely one of them. We had one, our parents had one, even some of our grandparents had one of these growing up. They helped us revisit our favorite stories and discover new ones. Each click of a button brought us a step closer to the worlds we loved and it’s impossible forget them.
Do you remember these? Of course you remember the View-Master, we all had one! These first came on the scene way back in 1939. It was made by a former pharmacist named Edwin Mayer who was working on photography equipment when he devloped a machine which held tiny pieces of Kodachrom color transparency film.
Mayer developed the machine after he teamed up with William Gruber. They decided to call it View-Master even though Gruber didn’t love the name, thinking that it sounded too much like a kitchen appliance.
By the 1950s, they managed to buy out their competition “Tru-Vue” as well as acquire the licensing rights to Disney characters which meant a huge library was now available to them. They also briefly introduced a line where people could make their own View-Master reels but discontinued it shortly after.
They changed it up every once and a while, making it easier to use and more fun for kids. By the 90s it had gone through a lot of changes, and eventually merged with Tyco-Toys and marketed under the Fisher-Price line.
Recently View-Master has been given an all new makeover, and is now being marketed as a Virtual Reality Viewer. It uses a mobile app on a smartphone that is inserted into the unit. The “reels” use an augmented reality for 260 panoramas, 3D models and mini games.
It’s not really what we’re used to, but it’s nice to see a classic toy is still around (sort of). Do you remember having one of these when you were a kid? Share if you remember the View-Master!