Originally a manufacturer of picture postcards, Sawyer's Inc. became the original manufacturer of the View-Master line of products.
View-Master was invented in 1939 by William Gruber as a way to update the Holmes stereoscopic viewer. Where the Holmes stereoscope was limited to one card at a time and could have outside distractions, the View-Master stereoscope uses reels that contain seven stereo pairs per reel and was enclosed, immersing the viewer into the scene more than any other previous stereoscope.
The View-Master premiered at the 1939 World's Fair and was an instant success, partially due to its use of the Kodachrome slide film.
Its popularity eventually lead to the creation of the View-Master Personal camera in 1952, made by Stereocraft Engineering Company. Selling for around $180, anybody could make their own personal reels to be viewed on any View-Master stereoscope.
In 1966, Sawyer's was bought by the General Aniline and Film (GAF) Corporation. GAF changed many of the practices of View-Master. These include:
- A shift in focus from photographic subjects, such as scenics, to children's subjects, such as TV and movies.
- E6 slide film replaced the Kodachrome, thus many reels of the 1970s now have faded colors, unlike the Kodachrome reels.
Today, View-Master is owned by Hasbro, under the Fisher-Price label.
Other film and camera products that have carried the Sawyer's and/or View-Master name include:
- Slide projectors and carousels
- Slide viewers
- Monoscopic cameras
- Sing-Along Videos
- the Sawyer's Mark IV 4×4 TLR, rebadged version of the Primo Jr by Tōkyō Kōgaku
- Sawyer's Nomad 127 - Bakelite 127 film still camera. A 620 film version was also made.