Vistascreen (1955 – 1960s)

Vistascreen was a system for viewing photographs or illustrations in 3D, similar in concept to the earlier Stereoview. Each card consists of two images at slightly different angles that when viewed together through a special viewer appear as a single stereoscopic image.

The Vistascreen Co Ltd was formed in the UK in 1955. Although the competing View-Master system was already available at this time, the content of most of the View-Master reels was of limited interest in the UK. Most of the original sets of black and white Vistascreen photographs were taken by photographer Stanley Long on a 1920s Rollei Heidoscope stereo camera. Picture cards were supplied in packs of 10 cards, and eventually almost 300 Vistascreen sets were produced. The bulk of Vistascreen card sales were as souvenirs at UK tourist attractions. A small number of glamour photos were also available by mail order.

The original Vistascreen viewers were manufactured in ivory coloured plastic, with plastic lenses, and were designed to fold flat.

In the 1960s, the Vistascreen business was sold to the Weetabix cereal company, and the viewers had the Weetabix logo added. Single cards were given away with Weetabix cereal in a promotion that lasted for a number of years and featured 6 different sets of 25 cards; Working Dogs, Thrills, British Cars, British Birds, Animals and Our Pets. Viewers could be purchased by mail order directly from the Weetabix factory. The original Vistascreen picture cards had a glossy, photographic finish and were of a much higher quality than those given away by Weetabix, which were made from printed card.

The Vistascreen system was cloned and made available in some other markets under different names (such as True-to-Life View-A-Scope in Australia).

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