View-Master, the iconic 3D stereoscopic picture viewer, has enjoyed great longevity. Over 75 years and sales that topped 100 million viewers and 1.5 billion reels, it has fostered exploration, entertainment, and discovery for legions of children and adults. Over time, the brand expanded to include a series of “talking” viewers and complementary projectors, like the View-Master Rear Screen Projector.
That’s right! Rather than forcing your friends to endure an impromptu slideshow from your family road trip to the Grand Canyon, you could instead regale them with selections from your library of standard View-Master picture reels.
Released in the early 1970s from General Aniline & Film Corporation (GAF), the table-top projector featured a built-in 3.5” x 4” screen that displayed content from inserted picture reels. Ads at the time touted its ease of use, stating that, “even a child of 6 can use it safely.” The projector sported a familiar colour scheme and came with a demonstration reel. It ran on a 120-volt household outlet with the backlit projection provided by a 12-volt bulb. The handle on top of the projector served the dual purpose of making the Rear Screen Projector portable and provided focus adjustment.
For more history of the View-Master, see my previous Toys with a History post, Keeping it Reel with the View-Master.