True-View From England

True-View: Tru-Vue's Cousin Over the Pond

By Tom Martin

In the early 1950's an English version of the Tru-Vue viewer and films was manufactured by the Signaling Equipment Ltd. company (abbreviated S.E.L. on the viewer and packaging) under the brand name "True-View". Signaling Equipment Ltd. is no longer in business, and not much is know about the connection between its product and American Tru-Vue line. However, since the True-View viewer and film formats are almost an exact copy of the Tru-Vue product line (even the packaging is nearly identical!) there is strong speculation that either a licensing agreement between Tru-Vue and S.E.L. existed, or that when Sawyers bought out Tru-Vue in 1951 they actually sold the molds and machinery to S.E.L. In either case, by the early 1950's there were several photographic related products using the brand name "Tru-Vue", so S.E.L. probably changed the name to True-View to avoid trademark infringements.

True-View viewers and films are not very common, so when a film order form was discovered in a viewer box several years ago, it was felt that the 24 films listed were the entire True-View film catalog. However, since that time films with higher numbers have surfaced, and the final catalog total is now assumed to be 30. No demonstration film has yet surfaced, so it is possible S.E.L. never made one.

The films are all of scenes photographed in the U. K., and just like their American counterparts, each contains 14 views plus the title and ending frames.

The Film Catalog

Here is the list of currently known films.

No. 1 – London Scenes
No. 2 – Scottish Beauty Spots
No. 3 – The West Country
No. 4 – Sussex and Surrey
No. 5 – The Wye Valley
No. 6 – The Lake District
No. 7 – Canterbury
No. 8 – The Burns Country
No. 9 – Dorset
No. 10 – Rural Kent
No. 11 – The Border Country
No. 12 – Picturesque English Villages
No. 13 – The Highland Line (Perthshire and Angus)
No. 14 – The Scottish Highlands
No. 15 – Lowland Grandeur
No. 16 – The Historic Thames
No. 17 – Festival of Britain South Bank Exhibition Part 1
No. 18 – Festival of Britain South Bank Exhibition Part 2
No. 19 – Festival of Britain South Bank Exhibition Part 3
No. 20 – Festival of Britain Pleasure Gardens Battersea Park
No. 21 – The City and University of Oxford
No. 22 – Beauty Spots of Somerset
No. 23 – Sussex Scenes
No. 24 – Stratford-on-Avon
No. 25 – Bertram Mills' Silver Jubilee Circus, Part 1
No. 26 – Bertram Mills' Silver Jubilee Circus, Part 2
No. 27 – London Airport
No. 28 – British Railways
No. 29 – The Zoo, Regents Park, Part 1
No. 30 – The Zoo, Regents Park, Part 2

My favorite films are No. 27 - London Airport and No. 28 - British Railways, as both have stereo images of mid-century transportation that are not commonly found.

A de Havilland Comet from No. 27 - London Airport

Train Engines at Kings Cross Station from No. 28 - British Railways

As always, this is a work in progress. If you have any additional titles or advertising, or notice any major omissions in this article, please let me know.

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This page last updated 30 January, 2006
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