Home > Life, The Universe, & Everything > Photo Memories From The 1960s & 1970s – Artifacts Found

Photo Memories From The 1960s & 1970s – Artifacts Found


I have no idea what these things are called but I am sure there must have been a brand name for them. My mom says they are called “viewers” but doesn’t know of any other name for them. Back then you could have them made for a nominal fee at any vacation destination. We have them from places in upstate New York (in the so-called “Borscht Belt”) to Miami Beach, FL. My grandmother has kept some of these for about 40 years never looking at them and we just recently dug them up. In fact, when my nephews and niece were in town recently they almost lost the picture that you see below on the floor as they were running around my mom’s house with these viewers (the white part of that Viewer is very loose and easy to open).

The mini photo which you can see in the opened pink "viewer" above closed and held up to the light. That's my grandparents and another couple.

These things took about a day to ‘develop’ or have made and then you could pick them up from the photographer afterward. Some of them, as you can see in the collection above, were branded but most of them weren’t (judging by the collection I have). The one that is branded is from the “Homowack Lodge” which was in Springfield/Sullivan County, NY and was part of the aforementioned Borscht Belt.

One of the other Viewers I found has a really old picture of my mom and dad from way back in the day. I am guessing it is from the mid 1970’s because there are also pictures of my oldest brother as a baby but not my brother directly older than me. I wonder if I can blow these pictures up to full size. Maybe I’ll take them into a store that specializes in such photos and development (and not just taking it to a Shoppers’ Drug Mart photo development section) and they’ll be able to tell me.

Viewer held up to the light with my mom and dad in the picture in the mid 1970's. So cool!

What’s also amazing about how these things “work” is that the picture becomes so much clearer the closer you bring it to the light and the brighter the light is at which which you aim it. I wonder how difficult it is for someone with glasses to look through one these. Ah, those were such quaint times!

Does anyone have any idea what these things are actually called? There must be a real name for them.

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  1. November 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Looks like they’re “keepsake telescope viewers, Dan!” https://www.my-scopes.com/index.aspx

    • November 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      Thanks so much for the naming help Pat! Also, thanks muchly for the link…very appreciated.

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