SX Variant View-Master Packet

SX Packet Style

circa early 1960s

SX front SX back
front back

Also known among collectors as the "special" (SP), "Sawyer's Hanging" (SH), or "swing-out" packet, the "Sawyer's Experimental" (SX -- my designation) style is the rarest View-Master packet design. Contemporaneous with the S5 variant, it was intended to be the succeeding generation of View-Master packaging.

The package was a square, two-compartment cardstock sheath enclosed only by the fold on the bottom edge; otherwise the left and right edges were completely open and the top edge was held closed only by a central metal eyelet.

The three reels were held in cellophane sleeves inside the front compartment, anchored to the sheath by the eyelet. The sleeves pivoted around the eyelet, so the reels could be swung out for examination by prospective buyers; to satisfy retailer requests, the eyelet also enabled hanging displays.

The rear compartment contained a mail-order reel list form; it may potentially have held a booklet, but none of the few titles issued in this format are known to have included booklets.

The front of the packet was laid out in three blocks. The packet title, Sawyer's logo, and the slogan "in view-master stereo" (all lower-case characters) occupied an area slightly less than half the top front; a full-color image from the reels was set at the lower right, comprising only about a third of the cover's total area; and the slogan "21 color pictures" appeared in the lower left. The standard price at the time for a 3-reel packet, $1.25, was preprinted on a perforated tab (presumably for easy removal by gift-givers or by retailers charging non-standard prices).

The back of the packet included the title and packet number in, respectively, the upper left and right corners. A brief list of other subjects in the View-Master catalog appeared on the left below the title; the art décoratif V-M logo and general promotional copy appeared on the right beneath the packet's number; instructions appeared at the bottom. A die-cut tongue ran vertically down the center from the top to accomodate the stamping of dealer codes onto enclosed reel lists.

The SX packets were manufactured for a few popular View-Master titles (known subjects include Disneyland and Carlsbad Caverns, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone National Parks) and sold only in selected test markets. The experiment was soon abandoned; although ingenious in meeting a variety of demands, the design was too vulnerable to damage and pilferage and proved impractical in high-volume retail settings.



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© 2009
The View-Master Ultimate Reel List created by Keith Baird.
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