Colorelief Viewer from France




The French have always had a strong presence in the stereo sphere, ever since stereo photography was first invented. This has spawned a number of different makes of viewer; one of which was the Colorelief. 

These viewers used a rectangular card with multiple images, rather than circular reels, as used by View-Master products.

An early  Bakelite Colorelief

The lenses on this viewer are quite close together, making it slightly less comfortable to use than some other viewers, however, the lenses are very good quality and the image is very bright and clear. The two halves of the body are held together with bolts. 

It is particularly important with these viewers not to accidentally release the slide advance lever, as the rapid upward action can crack the bakelite case above the lever. When purchasing this type of viewer a buyer should inspect this area very closely for cracks as a damaged bakelite viewer is of very little value.

The words "Brevete S.G.D.G" are embossed on the viewer and this is often mistaken for the manufacturer's name, it is in fact the French equivalent of the English "Patent" mark. (SGDG stands for 'sans garantie du gouvernement', which means 'without government guarantee' in English)


A  Colorelief 'Retro' Viewer

This Colorelief ‘Retro’ model was made from plastic, sometime between 1956 and 1964 (exact date unknown). The slides are advanced using a red knob on the side of the viewer. Internally there are a pair of rollers with rubber strips that grip the slide and advance it as the knob is turned. 

The light apertures of this viewer are quite large and grab a lot of light. This leads to a clear, bright image for the user. There were cards specifically made by Colorelief, but the viewer can be used equally well with Bruguiére Steréocartes. 

One thing to watch for when purchasing these viewers is to ensure the internal rubber rollers are intact, as they are prone to perish if the viewer has been exposed to hot conditions.


A pair of early style Colorelief slides from the 1950's

Paris L'Opera



Colorelief Stereoclic from 1966-67

This viewer is interesting in as much as it is exactly the same as the Bruguiere Stereoclic from around the same time with the exception that the makers name is embossed in the moulding. George Bruguiere purchased the Colorelief company in 1965 and ultimately ceased it's production a few years later. The metal ring between the viewing lenses is for focusing. One thing to watch for with these viewers is to ensure that the light diffusers are in place. They are only held in by two small tabs and the diffusers appear to shrink very slightly with age, resulting in them dropping out and becoming lost.

The leaflet and box views below clearly identify the viewer as a Colorelief product, however, the same viewer also is shown on some Bruguiere literature.

A newer protective slide sleeve from the slide pictured below, manufactured around 1967


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