The first multi-reel packets, called Stereo-Stories, were introduced to the public by Sawyer’s in late 1948 just in time for the Christmas season.
These new packets consisted of previously issued reels of a related subject placed in one handy colorful package; easy to handle during the busy holiday selling season and targeted to the children’s market.
Over the next several years, more new packets were issued but with a different look. As with the Stereo-Stories, they contained previously issued reels and had a long flap on the envelope back, but varied in their front design.
Each packet was given a number which was printed on the packet, i.e., FPX-6 was the 6 reel packet of fairy tales, FPX-3 was a 3 reel packet of fairy tales.
Pictured below are many examples of these packets. While there are several varations, these early designs are known to collectors as the S1 style. Note that some of the packets contained six or nine reels, however the three-reel packet
became the standard rather quickly and some of those larger packets were split into smaller groupings when reissued.
In February 1954 the first state packets, Georgia and South Carolina, were issued. No longer were currently produced reels put into the packets; instead each reel of the state was given its own unique new number.
For example, the South Carolina reel numbers were SC-1, SC-2, SC-3 and the packet number printed on the packet is SCP.
The Georgia reels were GA-1, GA-2, GA-3 and the packet number printed on the packet is GAP. A descriptive booklet was also included for more information about the views.
The state packets proved to be quite popular and by the end of the year seven more were issued, bringing the total number produced in the S1 style to nine (shown below).
In February 1955 the long flap packet style was replaced by the short flap style, now known as the S2. There were other changes as well - no longer was there a packet number printed on the back and added were
TO: and FROM: blank fields for mailing. The View-Master buyer could now directly send the packet to a friend by filling it out and placing a stamp. (Sawyer’s even showed you where to put it.)
In addition to the state packets, Sawyer's began releasing packets for popular scenic spots. According to the February 1955 edition of the View-Master Dealerscope, three of the six most visited locations
in the United States now had their own packets - Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota, The Great Smokies, and Dells of Wisconsin. Two more S2 packets, California and Yosemite, went on to become best sellers nationwide due to
their great photographic beauty and the romantic appeal of California. The first six S2 releases are shown below.
Several more state and scenic packets were produced in the S2 style until summer 1955, when the S3 style was introduced.