Fisher-Price isn’t stopping production on its 3-D viewer, the View-Master, but it will no longer produce the huge catalog of picture-wheels that have delighted and enlightened generations of Americans, laments the Economist. The company will publish just a small number of children’s reels for the device that gave us 3-D before 3-D film. More than 1.5 billion of them have been produced.
The View-Master wasn’t just for kids. After its debut at the 1939 World’s Fair, soldiers in World War II used the viewer in training to tell enemy ships and aircraft from friendly ones. Medical students even learned human anatomy from the device. And the View-Master was near ubiquitous in post-war households, allowing immersion in a realistic world even before color came to movies.