Hand-lettered, Buff

sample hand-lettered buff reel

circa 1941-1944


The third major reel design dispensed with the blue ring surrounding the cells, fully exposing the buff-colored surface of the reel front; the reel back was also buff. (Collectors describe these reels variously as "buff," "brown," "tan," or "yellow.") Introduction of this style coincided with the release of the Model "B" viewer; with the improved viewer, Sawyer's may have decided cell masking was no longer necessary.

While the typical reel of this period was buff on both sides, some reels combined buff fronts with blue or white backs; these probably represent the use of previous inventories of reel blanks during the transitions to and from the all-buff reel. Consequently, blue-back specimens likely came from the earliest buff production runs and white-backs from the latest. (In the List, reel variants are classified as "buff" based on the reel front alone.)

Buff reels were manufactured with both concentric and linear labelling:

concentric linear

At what point Sawyer's made this change is unclear. However, concentrically-labelled buff reels seem to have been struck from the same plates as their blue ring and gold foil predecessors, so linear labelling probably was introduced on a given title only when there was some other reason (e.g. re-captioning) to revise the reel.



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