View-Master by Sawyer’s (1939)

Vintage-Sawyers-View-Master-1930s-01

While the View-Master didn’t really take off until the 1940s, it was introduced at the World’s Fair in 1939 and thus makes it into our 1930s category.

The View-Master was invented by Wilhelm Gruber to replace, or at least compliment, the every day postcard. It was met with moderately good reception.

The US Army realized that the View-Master could help train troops, so they ordered hundreds of thousands of them. This money gave Sawyer’s what they needed to dominate the View-Master market for the next 40 years.

They were also very popular for the troops to use instead of magazines, if you know what I mean. Check out one of the ads below, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Shortly after 1950, Sawyer’s bought Tru-Vue, the other competitor (see pic below), and with it got the rights to Disney’s stuff.

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This allowed Sawyer’s to capitalize on the Disney boom in the 1950s and the rest is history.

You probably have one of these somewhere in your house, but I bet you don’t have one of the originals pictured below!

Original 1930s Sawyer’s View-Master Pictures & Ads

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Last modified: Mar 25, 2013 | Written by Paul Phipps