Mar 30, 2013

The Seven Wonders
of the World

The View-Master packet The Seven Wonders of the World (B901) featuring The Seven Ancient Wonders.


View-Master The Seven Wonders of the World (B901), Packet Cover

Packet Cover


From the 16-page booklet:

About 150 B.C., a Greek mathematician, Philon of Byzantium, wrote a book giving his choices for “The Seven Wonders of the World.” Philon chose well. although, of his seven, only the Pyramids of Egypt still stand, the rest have lived on in legend.

But the fabric of legend is often frail and twisted. What did the Seven Wonders of Pilon’s world actually look like? To re-create them, the VIEW-MASTER research staff has haunted libraries, prowled book stores, corresponded with authorities the world over. Valuable data have been contributed by the Library of Congress, the British Museum in London, agencies of foreign governments, and several universities. Peeling away the layers of pure myth and speculation, building only on supportable fact, our craftsmen have given life to legend. You see the Ancient Wonders at the height of their glory—rich, gleaming, unmarred.

But Philon also bequeathed us a problem. In limiting his choices to seven, he set a rigid quota for all future lists. Magical though the number 7 may have been to the ancients, this figure could enumerate only a fraction of the glories of that era; in today’s expanded world, seven times seven would be inadequate.

Our choices for the Seven Modern and Seven Natural Wonders of today are, therefore, intended to be representative and not complete. We defined Modern Wonder as any yet-existing creation of man that is generally judged to be unique and significant. Our Natural Wonders are, of course, similar creations of nature. From many lists prepared by scholars and world travelers—and from the wonders disclosed to man by the space age—we have taken, in each category, seven of those that seem most impressive.

Although many alternate lists might be compiled, no one can deny that the Wonders of the World shown here represent adequately the glories of nature and the skill of man’s mind and hand.


The Seven Ancient Wonders

Scene 1-1

Pyramids of Egypt

View-Master The Seven Wonders of the World (B901), Scene 1: Pyramids of Egypt

The Pyramids of Egypt (2780 B.C.)


From the 16-page booklet:


The glaring sun burns, the ropes bite deeper into hands and shoulders; but the overseer chants, backs bend, and the 2 1/2-ton core blocks move ponderously up the ramp, foot by painful foot. Rising from the barren Egyptian sands is the pyramid tomb of the Pharaoh Menkaure, which will complete one of man’s mightiest works—the pyramid complex at El Giza, the only Wonder of the Ancient World still standing today. Looming in the background are the completed pyramids of Khufu and Khafra. Largest and grandest was that of Khufu (or Cheops); 755 feet along its base, 481 feet tall, it would remain for the next 4,500 years the largest structure ever erected.

The pyramid was the culmination of the Pharaoh’s effort to preserve his own body and its necessities for the everlasting life after death. The Greek geographer Herodotus estimated that it took 100,000 men 20 years to build Khufu’s tomb. Over 2 1/2 million stone blocks, as heavy as 15 tons, went into it. Precise modern measurements show that each cube was finished to within 1/100th inch of being perfectly square. The four corners vary less than 1/20th degree from being absolute right angles. And this precision the Egyptians of 2600 B.C. achieved with such crude tools as the chisel and a knotted rope used as a measuring line.

But all was in vain . . . nothing has ever been found of Khufu. His imposing monument was plundered within a short time. There is a battered skeleton in the British Museum which may be that of Menkaure. No one knows for sure.


Scene 1-2

Colossus of Rhodes

View-Master The Seven Wonders of the World (B901), Scene 2: Colossus of Rhodes

The Colossus of Rhodes (280 B.C.)


From the 16-page booklet:


The year is 280 B.C. and our merchant ship is entering the crowded harbor of Rhodes. On the harbor wall, towering to a height of 120 feet, is Helios himself, the majestic Sun God, staring out over the sea at his own image rising in the east.

This tallest statue of all time, which gave our language the word “colossal,” was erected by the people of the little island of Rhodes in gratitude for their victory over Demetrius of Macedonia, who had besieged the island for a year. (The legend that the Colossus stood astride the harbor mouth originated in the Middle Ages and has no basis in fact.)

But the mighty Helios was to have a short rule and an inglorious end. Completed in 280 B.C., he came tumbling down during an earthquake just 56 years later, and lay prostrate for over 800 years. In A.D. 667 the Arabs conquered Rhodes and sold the remains to a Jewish merchant. It is said that he carted away 300 tons of bronze—900 camel loads.


Scene 1-3

Lighthouse at Alexandria

View-Master The Seven Wonders of the World (B901), Scene 3: Lighthouse at Alexandria

The Lighthouse at Alexandria (250 B.C.)


From the 16-page booklet:


Wicket, wonderful Alexandria! Crossroads of the ancient world; center of learning and culture; scene of Antony’s love affair with Cleopatra! Against such a setting, a single structure must have been outstanding to be known as a Wonder of the World.

But such was the Pharos—the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Nearly 600 feet above the sparkling Mediterranean it soared—a tower of white marble, bearing a pillar of smoke by day and a blazing fire by night. Completed around 250 B.C., the Pharos, standing on a small island a mile off shore, was the tallest structure of its day.

When the Arabs conquered Egypt in A.D. 642, they heard tales of great treasure hidden beneath the tower. They discovered the falseness of the rumors only after they had removed the upper stories, and were unable to repair the damage. An earthquake in 1375 completed the Pharos’ destruction.


Scene 1-4

Hanging Gardens of Babylon

View-Master The Seven Wonders of the World (B901), Scene 4: Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (600 B.C.)


From the 16-page booklet:


“You have longed for the green hills of your Median homeland, my queen. Therefore, I have built for you, here in Babylon, a great mountain!” Thus did Nebuchadnezzar, King of Kings, offer his homesick wife a Wonder of the World as a solace.

Fabulous Babylon was itself a wonder. Ancient writers say the city was richly adorned with glittering tile designs of lions and dragons. Piercing it was the famous Ishtar Gate, through which ran a broad processional way that led past the palace to the Temple of Marduk.

But none of these sights could comfort Nebuchadnezzar’s bride. She was the daughter of Cyaxares, King of Media in the mountains to the east. Babylon baked in the heat of a dusty, barren plain.

So Nebuchadnezzar built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. “Hanging” is actually a misnomer stemming from a rough translation of the Latin word pensilis which meant “balconies” to the Romans. And this is what the Gardens most likely were: balconies, rising one on another to an estimated height of 96 feet, each covered with flowers, shrubs, and trees collected from throughout the known world to please the mountain queen. There, during the blazing Babylonian summers, she strolled in the cool shade.

But Nebuchadnezzar fell and “he was driven from the sons of men.” And, in time, mighty Babylon toppled, as Jeremiah had predicted: “Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth . . .”


Scene 1-5

Temple of Diana

View-Master The Seven Wonders of the World (B901), Scene 5: Temple of Diana

The Temple of Diana, Ephesus (323 B.C.)


From the 16-page booklet:


There was great excitement at Ephesus in the year A.D. 54. A stranger was in town, preaching a new creed. His message was not always welcomed: “They be no gods,” he said, “which are made with hands.”

A silversmith, Demetrius, who made small shrines used in the worship of the local goddess, called a meeting of his fellow smiths to discuss this intruder—Paul by name. Denouncing these new ideas, he concluded: “So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at naught; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised . . . whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.”

Thus did the chronicler of The Acts of the Apostles record the fame and power of the goddess Diana (or Artemis) at the center of her worship, the Greek city of Ephesus, on what is now the coast of Turkey in Asia Minor. Here stood the famed Temple of Diana, completed in 323 B.C. It measured 342 feet long and 163 feet wide. Surrounding the sanctuary were 127 columns, each 80 feet tall; 36 had brightly painted sculpture around the bases.

The temple stood until, sometime between A.D. 260 and 268, it was plundered and burned by the Goths. Nor was it ever restored, for the Apostle Paul had done his work well. Soon afterward Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. By the time Constantine had placed the sign of the Cross on his banners, Diana’s shrine had become a quarry.


Scene 1-6

Tomb of Mausolus, Halicarnassus

View-Master The Seven Wonders of the World (B901), Scene 6: Tomb of Mausolus, Halicarnassus

The Tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus (350 B.C.)


From the 16-page booklet:


Mausolus was King of Caria, a province of Persia, which lay along the shore of the Aegean Sea in what is now southern Turkey. He was an energetic and warlike lord, but his name would have been lost in the mists of antiquity had it not been for the devotion of his queen, Artemisia. When Mausolus died in 353 B.C., his grief-stricken widow sent to Greece to hire its finest architects, sculptors, and artists to create for the dead king the grandest of tombs.

On high ground overlooking the harbor at Halicarnassus the crypt, which brought the word “mausoleum” to our language, rose to a height of 140 feet. On a stepped marble platform the solid, rectangular lower story—which held the resting place of Mausolus—supported 36 columns. Above these was a step pyramid, also of marble, which in turn, bore a magnificent group of statuary. In a marble chariot, drawn by four marble horses with gilt-bronze trappings, stood Mausolus, accompanied by a woman—perhaps Artemisia, perhaps the goddess Athena, we are not sure.

The tomb endured for some 1,500 years. But, in 1402, the crusading Knights of St. John of Jerusalem decided to fortify Budrum—as the site was then known—and why bother to quarry stones with all that fine marble there for the taking? By 1552, the tomb’s destruction was complete.


Scene 1-7

Statue of Zeus at Olympia

View-Master The Seven Wonders of the World (B901), Scene 7: Statue of Zeus at Olympia

The Statue of Zeus, at Olympia (425 B.C.)


From the 16-page booklet:


“A man whose soul is utterly immersed in toil, who has suffered many disasters and sorrows . . . even such a one, I think, if he stood face to face with this statue, would forget all the dangers and difficulties of this mortal life.”

This quotation from the orator Dion Chrysostom was typical of the acclaim which earned for the Statue of Zeus its place among the Seven Wonders. This majestic figure, towering over 40 feet from the temple floor, was Zeus, King of the Gods. The Temple of Zeus at Olympia was built by the Greeks in gratitude at the end of the Persian Wars. The sanctuary was constructed between 480 and 450 B.C., but for nearly a generation it stood vacant while Phidias, one of Greece's greatest sculptors, completed work on the Parthenon at Athens. When Phidias finally arrived, he set to work to create a giant statue. Golden plates, cast to shape, were fastened to a heavy wooden frame to form the drapery and sandals; slices of ivory were used for flesh tones. To this combination was added the work of the finest jewelers, engravers, and painters, all under the inspired direction of Phidias.

The fate of the statue is one of archaeology’s mysteries. It may have been destroyed in one of the area’s frequent earthquakes, or in one of the Barbarian raids during the fifth century A.D.


MK Storyteller said...

How did you scan these? I have several View Master reels ... the mid 70s King Kong and Superman: The Movie. I'd love to get those scanned.

Anonymous said...

You can scan them with a flatbed scanner that accommodates slides. Epson V500 or 700 do a good job at 6400dpi, but the results may be slightly fuzzy. That can be fixed with "Focus Magic" in several steps of width 10,7,4 and 12 at 25%. Put reels into scanner face down. You can create 3D files with "Stereo Photo Maker" Hand editing of dust and dirt may be needed.

Anonymous said...

Wow! These are brilliant. I remember this set from my childhood so well. Are there scans of the 7 natural wonders and the 7 modern wonders from the same series on your site? I can't seem to see them. Thanks so much.

Alexander said...

Nice Collection, please continue adding reels...

Larry said...

I have this set, and a few others that you have shared, but they aren't as spotlessly beautiful as your scans. I know you do a lot of cleaning digitally. But I'm wondering what your technique is for cleaning the actual Viewmaster reels. Thanks.

JAM said...

I use a camel's hair paint brush that I got at an art store. This is used to brush off loose dust and debris. However, all stuck debris can only be removed in the digital realm. It pays to have good quality slides to begin with, but sometimes you have to just use what is available. Soon I will begin publishing again. I just finished getting a teaching certificate and it took up so much time that I just did not have enough free time to prepare and post any new packets.

DavidD said...

Hello. I found your blog by accident but I'm so glad I did. I have been "sort of" collecting View-Master reels for quite some years. My favorites are the scenics, my least, poor quality digital images. Like you, I am working on my (NY) state certification and it is taking up quite a bit of time. I teach graphic design at a tech and career school, 11–12th grade. In fact, as part of the photography unit, I teach them how to take stereo photographs and mount them on cards. I know the method is not commercially viable but getting someone hooked on 3 dimensional images has proven more than a hobby for me... so it could for them as well.

I purchased the VM starter pack recently but sent it back in favor of the Deluxe Viewer. I was disappointed that the viewing shade does not accommodate my adult sized glasses. I bought a few "Experience Packs" but nothing about the VR experience excites me as much as the simple reels.

Regarding scanning reels, I have not had a chance to try that but I have scanned many frames of color film for traditional stereocards. I found the brush you mentioned, a can of compressed air and a microfiber cloth ro be very effective.

Thanks for your blog. I'll be bookmarked under View-Master.