Tru-Vue Viewers




TRU-VUE Inc., Rock Island, Illinois USA manufactured the viewers shown below. The company was founded in 1931 and after the 1933 "Century of Progress Exposition" in Chicago grew and flourished through the 1930's and 40's. The original viewers used 35mm filmstrips, generally containing 14 stereo views, which were pulled through the viewer using a lever (visible at the bottom of the left-hand photograph below). In 1949 Tru-Vue sold over a million reels of film!. 1950 saw Tru-Vue introduce their first colour films, this was a direct attempt to compete with Sawyers View-Master. There were over 400 filmstrips made by Tru-Vue and more were available from third-parties. The quality of the 3D presented is generally very good, although the films need to be handled carefully. The colour "Stereochrome" films tends to loose their colour with age.

Film-strips and viewers were made between 1933 and 1952. Ultimately the Tru-Vue company was acquired by Sawyers View-Master in 1952, who wanted the rights to Disney licences held by the company.

A 1933 Tru-Vue Stereoscope made from Bakelite with smooth brown metal front-plate.
 "Pat. APL'D For."


A 1936 Tru-Vue Stereoscope with a crackle finish brown metal front-plate. "U.S. Patent 90564"


The 1936 Tru-Vue Viewer below has a crackle finish metal front plate.


An example of a Tru-Vue stereoscope from 1947 - 1952




The Tru-Vue Viewer above with it's original box and some filmstrips

Another example of a slightly earlier Tru-Vue filmstrip viewer (1940 - 1946) shown with a filmstrip inserted. The viewer costs $1.00 when new.


A scan of a Tru-Vue filmstrip and a close-up of one of it's frames, taken from filmstrip 810. San Antonio, Texas

A Tru-Vue Card Viewer from around 1956

This was manufactured in Beaverton, Oregon after Sawyers took the Tru-Vue company over in 1952. Rather than using filmstrips as before, it used cards consisting of 7 stereo pairs. Sawyers chose not to use Kodachrome film and so the pictures have faded to a monochrome magenta finish these days, having lost most of their yellow and blue colouration. Production of the Tru-Vue cards continued until the mid 1960's

A Tru-Vue Deluxe Lighted Slide Viewer from early 1957 from a No. 525 Gift Set. In 1957 the viewer would have cost $3.49. It operates on two "D" sized cells.


A non-illuminated Tru-Vue Viewer, model number 502. The maker claimed larger convex windows allowed 30% more light to be gathered which result in 'brighter, sharper pictures". In 1957 these cost $1.98


Scans of two Tru-Vue Film cards from around 1960


Two scenes from "Navajo Shepherd Girl - C9"


Two scenes from "The Three Little Pigs - F4"



A Tru-Vue 'Economy' Card Viewer from the early 1960's. Also known as a "Magic Eyes" viewer.

These viewers are made from cheap plastic and are quite brittle. They have no advance mechanism as with previous viewers. Instead the card is advanced simply by pushing downwards it through the viewer.

These viewers were produced in a number of different colours and were supplied on a blister pack display card.

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