Engaging Culture

A Last Look at the View-Master

The View-Master – a gizmo we all grew up with is dead.  After 70 years, Mattel has finally pulled the plug.  They were especially famous for featuring tourist attraction photos, and at most vacation spots you could always find them in the gift shop.   It’s always emotional when something you grew up with goes away, and this will be no exception.  Any parting words from our readers?


  1. I think the new Thumbnail pics on Facebook looks like the View-Master® pics that I use to pop out of the reels…

  2. It was only my rich cousins that had the viewmaster when I grew up.  The downside is that this news dashes my hopes of finally being able to get a viewmaster of my own.   The next thing you know, the superball and the frisbee will be gone.   We can be thankful that the plastic overlay where you could draw along with Gumby and Pokey is gone.  Doesn’t work well with Plasmas.  



     I vividly recall playing with my little red View-Master…slipping outside to pretend I was looking through binoculars…imagining myself traveling throughout the mysterious world beyond my backyard, even though I didn’t dare step foot off our back porch.

    Something magical occured in my imagination everytime I pushed down the black switch on the side to change the slide… with one look I was whisked away from Warren, Ohio and transported to some glorious place called Elsewhere. Sigh… My View-Master,  a few specific books and LPs created some special moments in my childhood between 1960-1965.

  4. I predict a resurgence in the near future; if Mattel doesn’t make these, then someone else will.

    The thing that always captivated me about the view-master when I was was a kid was the 3-D. It was such a simple device, but the 3D effect was amazing – whether it was looking at Disneyland, a forest, whatever.

    Now that the hype around HD-TV is starting to subside, manufacturers are turning their attention to 3D – especially for animation… hence I think that these little gizmos may live again as a tool in the mighty merchandising machine.

  5. Apparently it was Tyco that produced the first View Master in 1939 and in 1997 Tyco merged with Mattel.

    I wish I still had my View Master dating from the 50’s and  the Grand Canyon and Calsbad Caverns discs with it.  But I still have my original Popeye doll and Buddy Lee doll with his bib overalls, shirt and hat.  It just pays to keep some things.  🙂

  6. that will sorely be missed. I remember that thing so well when I was a kid. We actually had to use or imagination with it. I kind of can’t wait to explain what a viewfinder was to my kids and have them give me this strange "dad you’re so old" look.



  7. I have a View Master sitting on my desk right now. It was a promo item for the Catalyst Conference a few years ago. I also have a miniature view master christmas ornament that I got from Hallmark. Sad to see they have stopped making them. I love the View Master!

  8. Living less than 20 minutes from their former home in Beaverton Oregon, I felt I had to give my parting words. 

    I still have 2 versions of it in our garage.  An older original one and the newer ergonomically shaped version.  We have many circular slides, many with dinosaurs from my son’s early years of T-Rex fascination.  They will definately find a place in our home now for future grand-children.   I think I might even have a projector unit for the circular slides somewhere. 

    I remembered something about toxic waste at the plant and found this.

    ‘At the factory, which closed in the 1980s, it is estimated that up to
    25,000 workers were exposed to dangerous levels of TCE via the
    factory’s drinking water, which was drawn from a well on-site.’   source wikepedia.

    I think they got received compensation in the form of View Master slides for life… 

    I wouldn’t doubt if they don’t make a comeback in 20 or so years like skateboards and other retro items have.



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