Vistascreen viewers were made at the beginning of the 1960's by The
Vistascreen Company Ltd. (16 Soho Square, London). They were
manufactured in either red or ivory coloured plastic and folded down for
They were priced at 1/6d (7.5p in today's
Generally the degree of 3D vision
obtained from these viewers was good. Pictures were supplied in
booklets, each containing 10 different views (Cost approx 2 shillings
and sixpence 12.5p in today's money).
Weetabix (Burton Latimer,
Kettering, Northants) also made a promotional version and gave away
slides with it's breakfast cereal. It was exactly the same as the
standard viewer with the exception that it had the Weetabix name
embossed in gold on the viewers reverse. Vistascreen items are becoming
increasingly collectible and prices have seen a significant rise over
the past two years.
A Vistascreen Viewer
The lenses on these viewers are good quality and are
superior to any of the 'clones' shown below.
An English Weetabix Vistascreen
Two Pictures. On the left a
Vistascreen Photograph and on the right a Weetabix free picture
Vistascreen commercially produced
pictures had a glossy, photographic finish and were of a much higher
quality than the slides given away by Weetabix, which were made from
printed card. All these slides are prone to curling (which is quite
normal), however, that doesn't
prevent them being viewed and doesn't detract from their value.
You can see more about various Weetabix promotional
The front and back view of a
Weetabix Slide. the commercial slides were blank on the reverse side.
A Vistascreen booklet with 10
A Lipton Tea Viewer from
Once again using the Vistascreen format
of viewer, however, this one differs in that the lenses are circular. The
quality of the lenses is very poor with large distortion of the image as a
Below is an Australian
This was used to promote the Australian equivalent
of Weetabix, know an Weet-Bix. The lenses on this viewer are far inferior
to the Vistascreen viewers shown above, causing ripple distortion to the
image being viewed.
words on this True-To-Life card read:
"To see this stereo card with thrilling three-dimensional realism, get a
True-to-Life View-a-scope from your grocer today! Price 2/6 or send 3/-
Postal Note to the Sanitarium Office in your State."
The Sanitarium Health Food
Company also offered a 'swaps' service on a 2 for 1 basis. Cards were
given away in the breakfast cereal packets
Rare Vistascreen clones
This dates from around 1960. This viewer is a far
eastern copy (Hong Kong) of a Vistascreen viewer. It is made out of
brittle plastic and has 'Empire Made' printed on the side of the box. The
quality of both the viewer and slides is much lower than the
Vistascreen originals. The set came with 6 sets of story cards,
each set comprising of ten drawn and coloured slides. The pictures used
were copied from a USA toy viewer system of the same
|The clone below was made in Hong
Kong for the USA market. It is almost identical to the viewer on the
left other than the drawing of the girl has been altered and the
viewer has been blister packed, presumably because that was more
acceptable to the intended market. It is priced at $2.98. On the
bottom of the packaging it is marked, "Made in Hong Kong" Expressly
for Justen Products, Chicargo. Ill 60654
A scan of one of the slides. The 3D
effect works well but the drawing quality is fairly simplistic.