The blisterpack card was pioneered by View-Master's European branch around 1980 under GAF and replaced the envelope-based packet as standard packaging worldwide by the middle 1980s under View-Master International.
The front of the card is laid out in two general areas. The upper half features the packet title with a full-color image, or several images, from the reels; on many blisterpacks the graphic is identical to the front of the earlier envelope-based packet for the same title. In the lower half a circular, vacuum-formed, clear plastic compartment protrudes through a die-cut hole in the cardstock; this contains the reels (normally three, though blisterpacks also have been used for a few single reel titles and two- or four-reel sets) with no additional space for a booklet or reel list (both discontinued with the introduction of the blisterpack).
A few titles are known in which the normal package layout
is reversed, with the reels mounted on the backside to allow full-face artwork on
The back of the card is similarly laid out with captions for the twenty-one stereo views in the upper half and general promotional copy and corporate identification below. In most cases the title appears in the top left corner, opposite (for North American issues) the Universal Price Code in the top right corner. Along the edge of the lower right side is a dotted line with the instruction "Cut here to open convenient storage container."
The packet number usually appears on the back at the lower right, in addition to a separate (and different) stock number corresponding to the last four digits of the UPC. Early blisterpacks retained the alphanumeric numbering system in use since S4-style packets; in the middle/later 1980s, a wholly-numeric four-digit numbering system was introduced; with the acquisition of View-Master by Mattel/Fisher-Price in 1997, it appears a new five-digit system has been introduced.
When the content of a blisterpack title is substantially revised it is simply assigned a new number, in contrast to the system of alphabetically-designated editions used in the S6 through V2 envelope-based packets.
Blisterpacks finally satisfied long-standing retailer demand
for a View-Master package which could be presented in a hanging display. (The
abandoned SX experiment of the early 1960s was the first attempt to provide a
hanging 3-reel package.) Around the time of VMI's acquisition of View-Master, the
existing stock of envelope-based packets was stapled to backing cards to make them
compatible with the newly-introduced blisterpacks; as a result, many V2, V1, G6,
G5, G4, and even G3 envelopes are found today with four sets of vertical staple
holes along the left and right edges.
In contrast to the older envelope-based packaging, at present there is no generally agreed-upon taxonomy among collectors to differentiate blisterpack variants. Consequently, in the List they are categorized according to corporate affiliation (where known) as, simply, "GAF," "VMI," "Ideal," "Tyco," and "Fisher-Price,"