Friday, May 24, 2013

Ever Have A View-Master...?

My sisters and I had one when we were kids, but I never knew the history. Thanks to the folks over at Listverse, now I do!

So many things that were originally intended as toys ended up in the hands of the military. At least this one wasn't used as a weapon!

View-master



Wilhelm Gruber was vacationing in 1939 when he met the president of a picture postcard and film developing company, Harold Graves. There aren’t too many businesses more doomed for failure in the 21st century than a shop dedicated to postcards and film developing. It’s a good thing they were geniuses and patented the View-master, an invention designed as an alternative to a postcard that made use of obsolete pieces of equipment called stereoscopes.

When it debuted at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, it was mostly sold in stationary stores and gift shops portraying landmarks like the Grand Canyon. However, in 1942 the U.S. military, deeply rooted in WWII, saw the potential for View-masters to be used to train soldiers. The military purchased more than 100,000 View-masters with millions of reels of film custom outfitted with pictures to aid in spotting artillery and aircraft. Nowadays, they are highly sought after by collectors and ex-soldiers seeking that warm nostalgic feeling of air raid sirens and widespread death.

Ya know, I still have a stereoscope (it's a reproduction, of course) but I don't have a View-Master anymore. Maybe I should find one again! Might be a kick to see one after all these years, know what I mean? We had some pretty cool toys in our generation, and none of them were digital! Imagine that!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. The kitties are allowed outside now, so watch where you step!

13 comments:

Chickenmom said...

I loved my View-Master when I was a kid! I would beg my parents for new reels all the time !Can't wait to play with the kittens! I'll bring some Lorna Doone's for all.

Sixbears said...

I still remember mine. Loved the Flintstones disk. Wonder whatever happened to it? Lost many moves back, like so much else, probably.

linda m said...

I had a viewmaster as a child. Now I see them once in a while in an antique store. The Grand Canyon pictures were always our favorite. Oh boy, I can play with the kitties when I have my coffee this morning!!!!

JO said...

View finders were great fun. Our toys taught you to use your imagination for good. Today most toys should be outlawed. All the teach is destruction and murder.

OK I'm off my soap box lets have coffee and kitty fun.

Barney (The Old Fat Man) said...

My viewmaster showed me the west. I feel that is what got me to meandering. It was a wonderful experience back in my youth. Seeing those places in person has been a great experience.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
That was one nice thing about them. You could always update them just by getting some new disc.

Lorna Doones are great! Thanks!

I appreciate you coming over today!



Hey Sixbears...
For most of us, it was the first glimpse of 3D!

Another one would still be fun.

Thanks for coming over today!



Hey Linda...
Sort of scary to see toys you used to play with end up in an antique store! Guess we know where we stand.

Thanks for coming by today!



Hey Jo...
Imagination was an important part of our everyday playtime! Something missing today, I'm afraid!

Thanks for coming over today, sweetie!



Hey Barney...
Sure did open up a whole new world for many of us! Very instructive toy, for sure!

Thanks for coming by this morning!

Dizzy-Dick said...

I bet ya all us "antiques" had one of those when they were younger. I did. I think the old originals where made a lot better than the newer ones. Of course that is the case with everything, isn't it.

Roslyn Phipps said...

I still have mine packed up in a box somewhere. Can't walk by one in an antique store without picking up the picture reels to see if it was one I looked at when I was a kid. Thanks for invoking great childhood memories.

Barney (The Old Fat Man) said...

Jim, I come by every morning but I save most of my hot air for my blog. Missing an HJ in the morning is bad MOJO.

Mamahen said...

I got here late.Busy day,but enjoyed the flash back to chidhood, and yes seeing them in the antique stores is depressing, but not as much as seeing the ones my daughter had as a baby there!

Kittens are so much fun to watch...Thanks for the invite!

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
No doubt that we had some cool toys and gave our imaginations a good work out!

I don't think that we are any the worse for wear because of it!

Thanks for coming over today!



Hey Roslyn...
The one you have packed away is probably worth a pretty penny right now.

Many thanks for dropping by today!



Hey Barney...
I sure don't want to be the bad MoJo for anyone! I'm glad to have you come by each day!

Thanks for being a regular!



Hey Mamahen...
There are so many reminders of our age just lurking around the corner!

I guess we have to act like we don't notice and keep on trucking!

Thanks for the visit today!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

I'm almost certain there was one of these in our home when ai was growing up. Every so often, one will come into the thrift store where I volunteer and if there are reels with it, I view them...really was a fun toy and you are so right, HJ, about imagination being an important part of childhood years ago...more so than now. I have fallen behind in blog reading, but nice to read the kitties are doing well as I missed that news flash too.

Francesca Slone said...

Who doesn't love this toy as a child? Seeing one (even in pictures) thoroughly brings a nostalgic feeling. Particularly because it is a toy of our generation. Today's kids have a different kind of source of entertainment. But hey, there are sites which allow customizing your own set of reels. View-Master would remain a stimulating toy even with a different medium. Image 3D