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A daily look back at the toys, games, and objects that captured our attention as children and continue to fascinate us today.

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Tru-Vue Viewers from Tru-Vue Company (1950s)

From the early 1930s through the ’60s, U.S. based Tru-Vue manufactured a series of stereoscope viewers that featured filmstrips of 14 stereo frames each. The product line bridged the time period between stereoscopic cards of the 19th century and View-Master reels, which are still in popular production today.

Users pulled each Tru-Vue 35mm filmstrip through the viewer using a built-in lever. The viewers were made primarily of bakelite, a synthetic plastic created in the early 1900s, and shipped in a series of colours. When the viewer was held up to the light with a filmstrip inserted, each pair of frames appeared in three dimensions.

Ads for Tru-Vue Viewers promoted the company’s character licensing agreements.

As the popularity of the product grew, Tru-Vue began to produce more filmstrips (more than 400 in total), with even more being produced by third-party vendors. In the early 1950s, the company begin to dabble in coloured filmstrips. Tru-Vue’s exclusive license to use cartoon characters from Walt Disney eventually proved too appealing for Sawyer’s, the manufacturer of View-Master. Sawyer’s eventually acquired Tru-Vue, which continued to manufacture and sell Tru-Vue products into the ’60s.

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