View-Master Model B was produced between 1944 and 1947. It was made from
bakelite, which overcame the warping problems associated with the Model
A and, similar to the Model A, opened up like a clamshell. There are
variants available, black, brown, blue and rarest of all, a dual
coloured black and blue version (the front was black and the back was
blue), but all have black eyecups. The black and blue variant is
probably the most valuable of all View-Master viewers ever produced.
The USA version had round eyecups.
There was a much rarer UK manufactured version, that can be easily identified by
it's flared eye-pieces and was made in Salford, near Manchester by
Salford Electrical Instruments Ltd. It was only ever available in black.
The UK viewers British patent number was 538492.
The glue that originally held the
eyecups in on these viewers has invariably perished with time. Common
fixes are to use a modern epoxy glue (which will reduce the value of the
viewer!) or to wrap elastic bands around the
lens barrels and twist them back in. Using elastic bands is the
preferred method as the lenses can still be removed if they become
contaminated with dust or dirt.
The USA Version of the View-Master
The UK Version of the View-Master
An example of a rare Mahogany Brown Model
Note that the eye pieces are black.
This is the only colour they were ever made in. Like all Model Bs, this
viewer in manufactured from bakelite. It was in production for just one
year in 1947. Originally, these Model B viewers retailed at $1.50
A Blue/Black Model B
This unusual two-tone model is considered by many
collectors to be the rarest View-Master of all, very few are know to
exist. The Blue/Black version of the Model B was manufactured at the very
end of the Model B's production run in late 1947, when the plant assembled whatever
parts were left over to use up stock before the launch of the Model C. All
these viewers had black eyepieces.
A Marine Blue Model B from 1947
Whilst not the rarest of Model B's, it is very hard
to find. The all blue bakelite viewer is one of the most sought after of
all Sawyers viewers and always commands high prices. These viewers were
supplied in a brown box with gold top. The box top sports a logo which
reads, "Sawyers View-Master - Third Dimension Pictures in Full Color
Kodachrome - Sawyers Portland Oregon".
In the box in which this viewer was supplied was a
note that read, "According to W.P.B. order L239 prohibiting the making of
combination boxes, We are discontinuing our Sawyer Library box for
View-Master and Reels. Sawyer's, Portland Oregon" .
to see note L239)
Moore has supplied some information that explains the note:-
"The WPB was the US War Production Board who issued orders
controlling all strategic production during WW2. Most orders were made in
1942 as the USA geared up for war production. The number L239 would
indicate a 'limitation order' to control a strategic material. This would,
most likely, have been wood pulp that was used in the production of the
Close-up of USA Model B (left) and UK Model B (right) Eyepieces
The USA Version Model B Patent
and the UK Version Model B Patent markings (right
The original receipt for the Model B View-Master
pictured at the top of this page
Model Bs being inspected and packed in the Sawyer's
3D Cross-eyed image of a Model B
UK Model B Box Label