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10-28-2022, 11:46 AM - 3 Likes   #46
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View-Master Virtual 3D Viewer

Hello,

By the late 90's, after changing hands a few times, View Master was finally acquired by Mattel when they merged with Tyco. They placed it under the umbrella of the Fisher Price toy division.
I believe this was the last incarnation of the traditional View Master viewer. My understanding is that this was concurrent with the horizontal loading unit and the binocular dual mode viewer. This was marketed as the "Virtual 3D Viewer" but it was essentially the same basic viewer design. Available in many colors, some of these were marketed as 60th Anniversary (1939-1999) and also for specific topics or themes with added labels to the back (Harry Potter, Shrek, etc.).
This viewer promised a bigger and brighter image. However, the optics are... well... just adequate for a Fisher Price mass produced toy. I can't find any information as to when it was stopped been produced. I'd guess mid 2000s when View Master got discontinued? Still searching. All of these I've seen are made in Mexico.

I found this sad puppy and rescued it for a whopping $2. It is... "purple". It looks a bit "bluer" in the pictures but trust me, it is very purple.
Very dull and a few scratches. Keep in mind, this is a Fisher Price toy.




I had a rough day at the office yesterday so I blew off some steam by doing this:

Conversation with myself:
-Really dude? Working on a Fisher Price toy?
-Yeah, so what!
-Ok, carry on...

Here is where it got interesting. The lenses are 2 plastic elements back to back each. When cleaning I noticed what looked like a nasty fingerprint in the middle of the left eyepiece. I cleaned the lens from the back and the front, but it was still there. So it is between the elements. That must have been in the factory! Those 2 elements are plastic welded to the housing. So, as you may have guessed it, I spent over an hour removing the plastic weld and separating both lens elements so I could get to that nasty fingerprint... Remember, I've never claimed to be normal.
Everything went back together, but then, legend has it that there is a polishing spirit in my workbench that forces you to polish the heck out of anything you put together...






Looks happier now to me


Scratches were removed from the advance lever and it was polished, and polished, and polished and...








My good friends Buzz and Woody helped test it.


You know what? It worked beautifully as a stress reliever session!

Thanks,
Ismael

10-28-2022, 12:56 PM - 1 Like   #47
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Between the research and the collection of restored artifacts, you should have a small museum on display.
09-21-2023, 06:50 PM - 2 Likes   #48
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Hello everybody!

WOW! Almost a year since last update! Sorry I've been away most of this year. Very busy at work.
Previously on this thread, I have posted about Tru-Vue, the main competitor of View Master. Eventually, Sawyer's, the parent company of View Master bought TRU-VUE in 1951. They redesigned the viewer with a new format to leverage some of their existing manufacturing capabilities. You can see that viewer here
That viewer was made until around 1959-1960.
A less expensive and more toy like "Economy" viewer replaced it. I'm not clear if they co-existed for a while, or if it was a matter of clearing the supply of the old one.
This new viewer was called Magic Eyes, came in a blister pack and used the same cards. It was available in bright colors.
It was made until the late 60's. I suspect (but can't confirm) that when GAF bought Sawyer's in 1966, they quickly discontinued the TRU VUE.
There is a lot more on the history thru this thread.

My specimen:

I recently acquired this Magic Eyes viewer incorrectly described as a View Master, including a few View Master round reels. They don't work in these. I have seen red, a very dark brown and this bright green.
The patent info is from 1959.
Dull and dirty. What you would expect from a 60+ years old toy.




It is missing the rear diffusers.


Took it apart, clean it and made my own diffusers, trimmed and adjusted for a perfect fit.


Polished the heck out of it.








Tested with an original Disney card from 1953


Works perfectly fine.




Two models of TRU-VUE vertical card viewers: 1950s and 1960's


I hope you like and approve.

Thanks,
Ismael
09-24-2023, 02:01 PM - 2 Likes   #49
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Hello,

Of all View Master viewer models, it seems the Model L had the longest production run and is probably the one made the most quantity. It is essentially the last of the classic viewer designs optimized for ease of assembly, low cost and reliability.
It was launched in 1977 to replace the popular Model G. At the time, GAF owned View Master. In 1981 GAF sold it to VMI. VMI was sold to Tyco in 1989 and eventually merged with Mattel in 1997. The Model L survived all those acquisitions and mergers.
The original factory in Oregon eventually shutdown in the early 2000s.
Pretty much every viewer out there today (original name or copy) is based on the Model L.
The model L was initially launched in 1977 with a metal advance mechanism that was quickly replaced with the most common plastic parts. The metal parts had a plastic ball attached as the lever actuator. The plastic part incorporated the lever to make it a one piece unit. The plastic lever is round and flat.

My specimen:

A while ago I got this early Model L in pretty filthy condition. I thought it was just dirty but it was really bad. Washing it had no effect.
Been an L made by GAF, means it is from 1977 to 1981. However, having a ball advance and metal mechanism disk makes it a rare very early production, closer to 1977.









It required major intervention.


At the end, I had to sand it down, work it and polished with automotive products. The attaching barbed tabs were cleaned of corrosion. The important but fragile advance ball was protected. Lenses were a real challenge to polish.

It all went back together, but testing revealed a very squeaky and rough mechanism. It was taken apart again and the friction surfaces were lubed with a dab of white lithium grease, while the return spring was cleaned and oiled. Then it was re-assembled back together, again.

And here it is after the rescue operation.














Does it work? Of course! And very nicely by the way!
Here is my official test reel: Frozen Niagara Falls





I hope you like and approve. Your comments are always welcomed.

Thanks,
Ismael

09-24-2023, 07:10 PM - 1 Like   #50
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You do fantastic work, which takes a lot of effort. The satisfaction of constructive achievement must be a happy reward for you.
09-27-2023, 10:50 PM   #51
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I had no idea that there were so many different models and brands. Your research and restoration is flawless. Keep it up.
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