Focusing View-Master Model D

Model D 1955-1972.

The Model D is regarded as the best View-master ever produced. Introduced in 1955 it's the only viewer to have focusing eye-pieces and a battery powered back light. This viewer also sported 7x magnification compared to 5x of all existing models.The Bakelite build quality is superb for the Sawyers line and is held in high regard by view-master enthusiast.

Step forward 50 years and your Model D may lackluster. Most viewers will have fogged optics, corroded battery compartments or covered in mold. In this tutorial I will explain how to remove Bakelite oxidation and clean the optics.

Gold logo doubles as the light switch.

We offer a full Clean, Lube and Adjustment service on the Model D View-Master: Visit our store page for more information.


Do It Yourself Instructions:

Supply List:
  • Flat-Head Screwdriver
  • Small Plastic Pry Tool
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Microfiber Cloth


1. The first step is simple and most owners will be familiar with the battery compartment area  To gain access remove the bottom circular nut. Once the to halves are separated detach the white diffuser shield.

2. Remove the four screws as shown below. Slowly lift the panel and watch for falling pieces. Many of the internal parts are free floating after removing the panel.

Use this image below as a guide when reassembling the viewer.  Note the potion of the brass bars & locking bolt. The red arrow points out the tab for holding the spring in place.

 3. Gently lift the metal disc upward, watch-out for the attached spring.

4. Remove the two screws and metal tabs as shown.

5. With the bars removed the eyepieces are free to release. Slowly pull the eyepiece away from the housing. A pair of spring-metal parts will fallout when removing this part. Don't worry this is normal.

The focusing wheel and support bar was left in place. Removing them seemed unnecessary for this tutorial.

6. Each optic is held in place by a black retaining plate. Carefully pry this upward as shown. While prying stay clear of the fragile glass optics. I used a jewelers screwdriver but a toothpick or plastic pry bar would be safer.

With the retaining plate removed the optics should slide out of the eyepiece housing.

7. Now its time to separate the the lenses from the housing. Each plastic ring contains two identical glass lenses. Do not use metal tools to pry these out! The glass can easily chip. These lenses are not glued into place. Try using your fingernail or a soft plastic pry tool.
Hazy Optics
Each lens is shaped similar to a contact lens. The concave surface needs to face the outside of the black ring when reinstalled. Use the illustration below when assembling.

8. Soak each lens in rubbing alcohol for at least 5 minutes. This will kill the mold and loosen dirt. After soaking, buff the lenses with a microfiber cloth. Household ammonia is a great for cleaning glass too.

 Lenses are fragile clean gently

Clean optics ready to install.

9. Now we're in the final stages. Before reassembly I would suggest dusting, washing or polishing the parts. The base chemicals used to create Bakelite break down over time. As it oxidizes the surface will become yellow and dull. Depending on the condition of the viewer a rinse is dawn dish soap should remove most of the dust and dirt. If the Bakelite part contains vintage labels or parts that can't be submerged, use a damp wash cloth instead. Make sure all parts are completely dry before assembly.

My preferred method is polishing the Bakelite.
Click Here for a full tutorial on Bakelite Restoring.

To reassemble simply follow the above steps in reverse order. I've added additional photos below to guide you through difficult areas.

Results from Polishing

 Additional Reassembly Tips:

Plastic ink pens work great for setting the eyepiece retainer.

 Note the location of the spring-metal parts under the focusing bar, these often fall out of place.

Make sure the brass bars are facing the correct way.

I hope that you have found this tutorial useful and informative. Please feel free to leave your comments and opinions below.


  1. There is a small metal piece that was floating around in the battery compartment. It is a small U shaped metal piece maybe dime sized. Do you know where this piece belongs? I purchased it at a thrift store and it doesn't work. I'm trying to figure out why and I'm very thankful for your tutorial!

    1. Nice Thrift store find!
      Thank you for visiting my site.

      The little piece you describe is a mystery. Can you send a photo.
      wesleyalmond AT gmail DOT com

  2. Hello! I got one of these for a good price on ebay, in generally great condition but the lenses were very fogged and dirty. Your great instructions enabled me to go in and clean it all up! Thanks so much!

  3. Got all excited when I found one of these over the weekend... then saw the big ass chunk that had been taken out of the Bakelite.

  4. Hi, I've got a Model D with a couple of missing parts. One leaf spring that tensions the focusing bar and one of the bars end retaining clip is missing. Do you know of anyone that might have these parts? kenbarbdae at hot mail dot com.

  5. Hi. I just found this model in excellent shape in a thrift store with bo and slides. I think soneone messed with the battery compartment on the left side where the leaf spring type contacts are.I think they were put back in the wrong order. The batteries start to get warm when installed.
    Do you know the order they go back in?


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