view masterI felt a wave of nostalgia when I came across the View-Master this summer in an Amish shop.

Remember this classic toy?  As a child of the 80s the View-Master was still kicking in my youth, and I remember being fascinated by the 3-D effect created by the simple stereogram technology.

Today’s kids, of course, might avert their eyes momentarily from the XBox to smirk at this amusing relic before returning to blasting pixellated aliens or scoring electronic touchdowns.

Hey, and I don’t know that I can blame them.  The View-Master is definitely a toy of another era.  It’s a one-trick pony, lacking the bells and whistles and intense experience of today’s amusements.  But when you don’t know a thing about the XBox, the View-Master was a pretty cool little gadget.

view master disks

The View-Master is another example of a toy which has fallen out of favor in mainstream America but is still alive and thriving in Amish society.  The shop where I found this one was chock full of 3D reels like the ones you see here (besides these I saw disks for Covered Bridges, the Statue of Liberty, Italy and the US Presidents).

We’ve discussed Amish and board games before; Amish are also avid players of card games.  You can find simple wooden toys in Amish homes and being turned out of Amish woodworking shops, both for the Amish and for English parents looking for throwback good fun.  And I have to bet that Amish children are some of the most adept at conjuring joy from toss-away items like boxes and cans.

What are your View-Master memories?  What other classic toys have we forgotten?

Red View-master photo credit: The Passenger/

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