Sunday, October 21, 2012

3D Viewmaster - Stereoscope

As a young kid I used to envy my friend Srinivas because he had a Viewmaster.  The present generation may not know about this beautiful toy.  There were seven views in one disk - see picture below.  Rotation of the disk was with a lever that changed the views step by step.  Since these toys were targeted to the very young age group, there were usually cartoon characters in them.  

We had film viewers made from brittle plastic.  They were just mono, very cheap and crude.  A small packet of about 10-15 cut films were given with it.  They were from scrapped 35mm film from the damaged reels that the theatres disposed.  It used to give thrill.  

The more sophisticated ones had views printed on a film and rolled manually - like you would wind film in a camera.   Such ones were usually sold in tourist centres.   The one presented by my late uncle who had bought it during his visit to Delhi in the mid 1960s is still with me. It has black and white pictures of historical Delhi's famous locations.  Look here:

Quality of images are also good in this!

The other mode of viewing entertainment  in the olden days, and even up to the 60s, was the 'Bioscope' 'Bioscopewallas' carried the 'Bioscope Box' and arrived at a particular shady place of the street.  Children would soon come to know of his arrival and would curiously gather there. I had not seen through a bioscope but remember vaguely, to have seen the bioscopewalla near our locality in Mysore, in the 60s. He took a fee of 2 paise for viewing.  They did not frequent the towns as much as they did to rural areas where their business was better.

If you wonder what a bioscope is, the writer in this blog has briefly pictured it: [Click].  

Here is another link with some pictures that reminded me of my younger days. [Click].  The Viewmaster became its modern substitute.

Whenever I went to my friend Srinivas' house, I used to ask him for the Viewmaster and he gladly showed me. The very operation of it gave me great thrill.  Decades had passed.  Srinivas had gone abroad to make his career and was out of touch for a number of years.  When we resumed contact, there was our next generation.  On one of his subsequent visits, he had come with a Viewmaster [pictured above] which he gifted to my young child!  It was as if he remembered my fancy for it decades ago, but it was only a coincidence.  What a wonderful surprise anyway!  It took me 40 years back in time!

The slides he had brought with it were of Walt Disney's famous story "Lion King".  And it has this '3D' effect.  I looked at the pair of each slide to study why we get that 3D effect looking with both eyes.  If one eye is closed that effect is gone.  Observe closely and compare the background and foreground drawings in these two [left and right] images:

 Left slide.

Right slide.

The 3D effect is such a beautiful creation! You will want to look at them again and again, through the Viewmaster!  The 'depth' in the image comes up on view!

This is what we look with one eye.

 The title of the slide being watched shows in the window.

The Viewmaster Disc.

Another picture of the Disc.

All these old toys have been pushed aside by the recent development in electronics.  Today's children are never satisfied even with cartoon movies.  The thrills of those days cannot be matched.


Raja said...

Hi Dinu, do you still have a View Master with you ? A number of Dasara View master discs are still available on ebay !Once i even purchased one but could not see properly.

Raja said...

Hi Dinu, do you still have a View Master with you ? A number of Dasara View master discs are still available on ebay !Once i even purchased one but could not see properly.

shekar avadhani said...

hi raja any idea of selling mysore dasara View Master reels ?
advanced thanks
am great fan of VM reels.