BDA : Winter Migration !

Text : Serge Van Heertum - Pictures : Jean-Luc Beghin (In flight and viewmaster content) © sbap 2012


Today the entertainment technology is in full development, especially in 3D images. Television, camera, blue-ray and much more. But this is not really new because the third dimension was always a goal for new inventions.  In fact the first stereoscopic photos was made in 1840. After a lethargic stage of ten years, Stereoscopic photography takes a fast development in 1851, because of  the world fair of London. To obtain a couple of photographs is simple. It is enough easier to take a first photograph, then move slightly the photographic room before taking the second photography. The two photography are fixed to a support. To obtain the relief image, it is necessary to insert the photographic couple in a Stereo viewer. But the greatest 3D development came with the view-master 50 years later.

Stereo viewer 1935 Russian stereo GOMZ Sputnik camera 1960 Zeiss Ikon RBT 3D camera, still on the market
Many stereo pictures were taken during the first world war

The view-master system was created by William Grubber. Grubber was a photographer from Portland (Oregon). His invention was a disk including double kodachrome 16mm slides and was presented for the first time during the New York world fair in 1939. A year later Grubber makes an association agreement with Harold Graves, president of the Sawyer’s Inc. specialized in touristic postcards. The view-master brevet was confirmed in 1940. This invention was in fact a modernization of the traditional touristic postcards, sold in the Photoshop’s and bookshops. Regarding the success of this product, the company launched also a special double lens camera, so everybody could be able to make their own personalized view master disk. During the years to come, the company was growing and changed regularly  its name along the different reorganizations. In 1966 sawyer’s was bought by General Aniline & Film (GAF). Many other changes happened but this is a too long story. Today, view-master is still on the market under the Fisher-Price/Mattel label.


The popular View Master "G" model (Late 1960's) The View Master camera gave the possibilitiy to make personal view masters disk

Begin 1970’s, two disk package were edited with pictures of the Belgian Air Force and other world Air Forces. Thanks to the motivation of the well-known drawer Jean-Luc Beghin and the agreement of the Belgian air Force authorities a first view-master named “Jet Pilot” was edited in 1971. The second one “Jet Fighters” in 1972. Both are including the famous disk (3 for a total of 21 pictures) accompanied with an explicative booklet and of course couple of Jean-Luc Beghin drawing. Those products are always a must for the Belgian Air Force fan and today those two items can be found via some auction web sites. Still really nice to see the F-104G, RF-84F and Mirage of the Belgian Air Force in 3D, a remembrance of my youngster period in the 1970’s…

The first View Master dedicated to the Belgian Air Force edited in 1971 A second one was edited in 1972
Each package content 3 disk (21 pictures) and... ...a booklet with explanaitions and some well known Jean-Luc Beghin drawing

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