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
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.
A 1936 Tru-Vue
Stereoscope with a crackle finish brown metal front-plate. "U.S. Patent
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,
A Tru-Vue Card Viewer from around
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
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
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
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.