The earliest production View-Master reels were manufactured from a deep royal blue stock. The dark color of the reel presumably was intended to mask the edges of the images when seen in the Model "A" viewer and, perhaps, to reduce internal light reflections within the viewer housing.
Unlike all later designs, these first reels were not printed upon directly. The reel title, number, captioning, and indicia were printed on a gold foil label, which in turn was affixed to the center of the disc. All reel labelling was concentric.
"Pat. Applied For" appears immediately below the center hole in the earliest issues; "Patented" appears on new titles first issued after February 1940, when the View-Master patent was awarded.
(The patent statement was changed only when a reel was revised for some other reason, such as re-captioning; as a result, "Pat. Applied For" appeared also on later blue-ring, buff, and white hand-lettered reels.)
Early gold foil reels were sold in a cardstock carton printed with black or dark blue and metallic gold ink. Unlike later sleeves, which were sealed on three sides, this earliest design opened fully from the back with four flaps, one on each side, and fastened by means of a tongue & slot arrangement between the top and bottom flaps.
Later gold foil reels were sold in a sleeve sealed on three sides and open at the top, printed in dark blue and metallic gold ink.