View-Master Model D - The first illuminated ViewMaster




The View-Master Model D (#2011) was produced between 1955 and 1972. It cost $9.75 when first introduced and this had risen to $12.99 by the end of it's production run in 1972. It was made from bakelite and was the only View-Master to have focusing eye-pieces. The lenses were oblong, rather than the more usual round shape. It ran from either 2 'D' size cells or an external power source. The build quality was very high and it was considered to be the prestige item in the Sawyers range of viewers and still held in high regard by collectors to this day.

A lot of Model D's have lost their 'medallion' which can be seen in the photographs below.  The main improvement of this model was it's 7x magnification as against the model C's 5x magnification. It was available in two colours, black and brown.

Black Sawyers View-Master Model D  (flagship product)

The finely engineered advance knob shows that Sawyers intended this viewer to be a prestigious
flag-ship product
A close-up of the View-Master logo. No expense was spared in the manufacture of this viewer

The difference in colour between the black and brown Model Ds is quite noticeable

Black & Brown Sawyers View-Master Model Ds

Notice the two different styles of light switch (the VIEW-MASTER bar)

Black & Brown Sawyers View-Master Model Ds

Black / Brown

Black Model D viewers are generally considered the best to use, as some users say that the brown Model D suffers slightly from a halo of light that forms in the viewing lenses, although it is hardly noticable and wouldn't worry most viewers.

The Model D is probably the most popular viewer to use for most people due to it's high optical quality, large magnification and ability to focus.

Some people replace the original tungsten bulb with a modern, brighter halogen alternative. The original bulb gives a warm light, whereas the newer halogen bulb give a bright, sharp light.


Many Model D's have lost their small silver medallion and this reduces their value a little.

These viewers are quite heavy and the bakelite can easily become cracked or chipped if they are knocked.

Most View-Master collectors would agree this is the best VM product to use for viewing reels.

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