Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011


We owe our love of handheld three-dimensional color slides to a photographer with a wild idea. In 1938, cameraman William Gruber was taking photographs of the Oregon Caves National Monument through two cameras strapped together. The idea? To produce new 3-D color slides for stereoscopes common in most 19th century drawing rooms. A chance encounter at the caves with Harold Graves, president of Sawyer's Photographic Services, led the two to strike a deal. Together, they would produce the View-Master, a new way of viewing tourist attractions in America. The famous red device made its big debut at the 1939 New York World's Fair and was sold through specialty photography stores until Graves and Gruber scored a major licensing agreement with Disney to offer 3-D images of Disney films, TV shows and theme parks. From that point on , the View-Master became a beloved classic.